Speaking Your Private Parts

, , , , , , | Learning | March 2, 2019

(I’m a girl in year seven — sixth grade — and we’re learning about the reproductive system in biology. Everyone is really embarrassed, which isn’t helped by the fact that our teacher is a 40- to 50-year-old man. Naturally, there are some funny and memorable moments.)

Teacher: *labelling a diagram of the female reproductive system, pointing to the uterus* “Who can tell me what this part is called?”

Male Classmate #1: “Vagina!”

Every Female Student: *cringing*

Teacher: “No.”

Female Friend: “It’s the uterus.”

Teacher: “Correct.” *pointing to cervix on the diagram* “What about this part?”

Male Classmate #1: “Oh, I know this one… Vagina!”

Every Female Student: *cringing more*

Teacher: “No, this is the cervix.” *pointing to vagina on diagram* “Finally, who can tell me what this part’s called? [Male Classmate #1]?”

Male Classmate #1: “VAGINA!”

Every Female Student: *dying of embarrassment*


Teacher: “Now, what about the male reproductive system?”

(The slide changes to a cartoon side view of a penis and testicles.)

Male Classmate #2: “Why do we have to learn about this in front of the girls?”

Female Classmate: “We didn’t complain. We sat through [Male Classmate #1] shouting, ‘Vagina!’ multiple times; why shouldn’t you have to deal with the same embarrassment?”

(Us girls spent the rest of the lesson answering every question with, “Penis?” Even our male teacher thought it was funny.)

Your Mouth Has Stamina

, , , , | Learning | March 1, 2019

(Growing up, I am as far from athletic as one can be, not that I care much. I also am completely unable to know when to stop talking. One day in seventh grade, a classmate has been bugging me the whole day, and continues while we are at recess. I ask him to stop it. This guy isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed and is quite aggressive.)

Classmate: “What, you wanna fight? I’m sure I can beat you!”

Me: “Well, of course you can! You have at least six kilos and ten centimetres on me. I’m not sure you should be proud about beating me.”

Classmate: “What?”

Me: “You’re far stronger than me. Being proud about beating me up would be as if I bragged about getting a better grade in a seventh-grade maths test than a first-grader.”

(This is where I should have stopped talking, but instead…)

Me: “…or said first-grader bragging about getting a better grade in a first-grade maths test than you.”

(This is the moment I realised I’d f***** up. I began to move away from him, knowing that when he understood what I said, he would be furious. After a couple of seconds, he realised what I meant and tried to hit me, and I began to run away from him. Thankfully he never caught up with me and got tired before I did. I learnt two things that day. The most important was to keep my mouth shut. The second was that although I couldn’t run very fast, I had nice stamina and could run a little longer than most of my classmates.)

A Use Of Alarming Language

, , , , , , | Learning | March 1, 2019

(I have taught English for a few years in China. One of my classes is late at night and I have mostly young, working professionals in my class. Because the class is late, and we have all had full, busy days, this class can be quiet, and most are very tired.)

Me: “Okay, I’d like to go over the new vocabulary for this week. Are there any words that you need help understanding?”

Student #1: “I don’t understand ‘alarm.’ What does this mean?”

Me: “Oh! Great question! Does everyone remember antonyms? These are words that have opposite meanings.”

Student #2: “This is like cold and hot. They are opposite.”

Me: “Exactly. So, we all know what calm means, right?”

(The students all nod. I continue to explain calm, peace, and tranquility, and make my voice softer as I explain. Eyelids start drooping, and heads began to tilt while I continue.)

Me: “So, I want you to remember what this feels like, because you will all feel alarmed very soon.”

(I walk over to my metal desk and slam my hand on the top, making a large bang. All students are immediately wide-eyed and alert, hearts pounding.)

Me: “That feeling? What you feel right now? That is alarm.”

Students: *laughing nervously* “Oh, okay. I will never forget that!”

Me: “Excellent! What are other words that are similar to alarm?”

(At the end of the year, all of the students from that class told me that I had made English fun and more memorable than any previous teachers. They loved how they had gotten real practice and understanding of the new vocabulary rather than memorizing lists. Several also received promotions due to their improved English opening up new job opportunities for them!)

A Not-So-Sweet Resolution

, , , , , , | Learning | February 28, 2019

When I was in elementary school, there was a fourth grade teacher who was a little… crazy. One of the many insane things she would do was walk around the lunchroom chanting the phrase, “Don’t eat your dessert first,” over and over again. The teacher would always bring her class to lunch around 15 minutes late; we only had 25 minutes so by this time many kids were almost finished with their food.

I was sitting at my table and had already finished my sandwich and carrots. The teacher walked in with her class, grabbed her lunch, and walked past my table. I was opening my [fruity rolled snack] when she leaned over my shoulder and screamed, “DON’T EAT YOUR DESSERT FIRST!” She then grabbed the treat out of my hand and walked away. I have very bad anxiety and am on the autism spectrum. This startled me so much I almost started to cry. She took food from a five-year-old! Who does that?

Later that day I went home and told my mom what had happened, but she did not believe me. My older sister had had that teacher five years earlier and had had no problems with her, so obviously I must have been lying or exaggerating.

I still remember fifteen years later how scared I was when this grown woman screamed at me for enjoying my sweet treat after my lunch and stole it from me. I doubt she even thought I wasn’t finished with my meal; nearly everyone else, besides her class, had finished, as well. Later, when I had her for fourth grade, I found out that she would constantly take sweets from children and eat them if she suspected they were eating them before their other food.

Shoot-From-The-Hip Teaching

, , , , | Learning | February 27, 2019

(My professor was born and raised in California, and decided to move to Texas for more experience. The university is in a small town full of hunters, farmers, and ranchers, so people know how to shoot a gun. Since he teaches Federal Government, we are on the topic of the Amendments, more into the Second Amendment.)

Professor: “I’m glad I live in Texas now. It’s because you guys are into the Second Amendment, so I know you all have a concealed firearm. So, if something happens, I’ll have free bodyguards and all I have to do is duck.”

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