Stories from school and college

Literary Paralysis

, , , , | Learning | July 3, 2013

(I’m in my English class. We’re studying a certain poet and our teacher has assigned us a project where we must compare his love poems to his other poems. My partner and I on the project are comparing them to his political poems.)

Teacher: “So, [My Name], what’s your group doing?”

Me: “We’re going to examine the poet’s love sonnets and his other, more political poems, and how they are mostly interchangeable.”

Teacher: “What do you mean?”

Me: “For example, if you took some of his love poems and said that they were actually about Communism, it would be hard to disprove, and vice versa. Some of his political poems sound almost like love letters.”

Teacher: “Well, that’s very interesting, but is that really true?”

Student #1: “I don’t know if that’s really applicable.”

Me: “We just thought…I just—”

Teacher: “I’m glad you thought of something new, but you should really pick something else. Whenever you do literary analysis, you should always base your observations off of existing theses. You should never come up with a new topic. Always expand on existing literary criticisms by published, respected critics.”

(I’m a little annoyed at this, but since the project only just began I don’t mind changing the topic. Five minutes later…)

Student #2: “So, I don’t really get exactly what you want us to do.”

Teacher: “Well, that’s the beauty of it! This is totally your own thing, your own thoughts; anything you want to do, you can do. This is completely your own interpretation of his poems!”


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Time To Put This Discussion On Ice

| Learning | July 3, 2013

(My Continental Rationalism professor is trying to explain Spinoza to the class.)

Professor: “So in Spinoza’s pantheism, everything is constrained by natural law, correct? So why does this give traditional theists, the Christians and the Jews, conniption fits? Hmmm?”

Class: *stares silently*

Professor: “Well, if things can only happen in accordance with certain rules, what does that eliminate, in traditional theism?”

Class: *continues staring*

Professor: “Imagine that this here, all this in front of me, imagine that it’s all water. Now I walk on it. What do we call that? Yes, you, in the front there.”

Me: “Winter, sir.”

(The correct answer of course was a miracle, but the prof did have to admit I was right!)

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Judge Not, Lest Ye Get Jumped

| Learning | July 3, 2013

(Our tutor is a Bible-thumping bigot in an all-girls school. She’s just caught two friends of mine making out when she came early to register us and is laying into them. Unbeknownst to the couple, we’ve laid plans for such an event.)

Tutor: “This is a disgrace! It’s an abomination, a sin!”

Friend #1: “It’s none of your business what we do!”

Friend #2: “It’s not against any rules!”

Tutor: “It’s against God’s Law! Leviticus—”

Friend #3: “AND I’m gonna stop ya right there.” *grins* “You’ve got a tattoo. Leviticus 19:28, among others.”

Tutor: “That’s not—”

Friend #4: “Not to mention Timothy 2:9, saying not to wear gold and pearls.” *gestures to tutor’s jewelry*

Tutor: “Well that’s—”

Friend #5: “Oh, and Leviticus 19:19; no clothes of blended fibers which we all know you’re wearing.”

Friend #6: “Are you planning on killing me because I don’t share your faith? I’m Hindu. Deuteronomy, 13:6-10.”

Friend #7: “What about—”

Tutor: “Shut up! SHUT UP!”

Me: “Didn’t your God have some pretty strict rules regarding who was allowed to start throwing stones?”

Tutor: *furious* “GOD D*** IT!”

Me: “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in—”

Tutor: “JUST SHUT UP!”

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Thankfully, These Students Have No Hidden Agender

| Learning | July 2, 2013

(I am tutoring a group of fourth and fifth graders. I’m female.)

Me: “Okay, guys. Just to let you know, I will not be here on Friday. I am taking the day off.”

Student #1: “What? You’d rather be somewhere else than here with us?”

Me: “Well, if you must know… it’s my anniversary on Friday.”

(The students of course loudly react. After shushing them, I explain a bit further, trying to be vague so I can have privacy.)

Me: “I’m not married. But it is the second anniversary of our first date.”

Student #2: “Does he live with you?”

Me: *finally deciding to bite the bullet* “No, she does not live with me.”

Student #3: “You have a girlfriend?”

Me: “Yes. I do. And we’re not going to talk about it anymore because it’s not important.”

(We go on with the activity for awhile.)

Student #4: “So…”

Me: “Yes, [Student #4]?”

Student #4: “Is your girlfriend a boy or a girl?”

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A Ban On The Banner, A Fan Of The (Wayne) Manor

| Learning | July 2, 2013

(My professor is going to have a baby boy soon.)

Professor: “Now, who can tell me what radiation is?”

Student: “It’s what made the Hulk!”

Professor: “No! We don’t talk about the Hulk. That’s bad science. He’s my least favorite Avenger, because mass doesn’t work that way. No.”

Me: “But you said you were naming your baby Bruce!”

Professor: *looks me dead in the eye* “Batman.”

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