Stop This Cretinous Behaviour

| Learning | October 13, 2015

(During a French class, the word “chrétien” crops up in a book we are reading. The teacher establishes that this is the French word for “Christian”.)

Class Smart-Alec: “Is that the origin of the word “cretin”, sir?”

Teacher: “That’s it. I’ve had enough of your unholy and anti-religious attitude. You’ll be in for a Saturday detention and you can go and see the Headmaster immediately. Then …”

Class Swot: “Actually, sir, the word “cretin” does ultimately derive from the word “chrétien.” We looked it up one day some time ago.”

Teacher: “Well, er, that’s not the point…”

Class Swot: “It absolutely is the point, sir. You can’t punish someone for bringing up an interesting etymological fact, just because it contradicts your own prejudices.”

Teacher: “Right, that’s enough! You are also in Saturday detention, and you can also go and see the Headmaster immediately.”

(Class Smart-Alec and Class Swot both went and visited the Headmaster and related their story, who agreed with both that this detention was unfair. No idea what he said to the French teacher, but the teacher was considerably less quick to punish members of the class for being smart.)

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