Wingardium Leonidas

| Learning | September 4, 2015

Japanese Teacher: “What’s your favorite movie?”

Me:Harry Potter!”

Classmate #1:300!”

Classmate #2: “THIS. IS. HOGWARTS!”

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Discussing The Elephant In The Room

| Learning | August 6, 2015

(I teach English as a Foreign Language in a small Junior College in Japan. We have Sri Lankan students that enroll, and the particular class I am teaching is about pests…)

Me: “Who can tell me of a troublesome animal?”

Student: “Oh, [My Name], I can tell you about one.”

Me: “What kind of animal is it?”

Student: “Wild Elephants!”

Me: “Wild Elephants? What on earth! Where did you see wild elephants as pests?!”

Student: “They are on my uncle’s tea farm outside of Colombo. They cause him lots of trouble. They get into his tea plants, his barns, his garbage, even his house sometimes. It’s terrible! They usually come at night!”

Me: “How do you get rid of wild elephants?”

Student: “Oh, my uncle usually needs LOTS of help!”

(Turns out that this phenomena is true! About a year after this student told me this story, a special aired on “National Geographic” that documented the trouble that Sri Lankan tea farmers have with wild elephants that come out of the jungle at night to literally terrorize tea plantations and their farmers.)

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A Certain Degree Of Purchasing Power

| Learning | March 13, 2015

(I am teaching a computer programming class and one of my students is actually a professor of electronics at a technical institute. We’re commiserating after my class over trouble students. I have just finished telling my worst story of a student who did no work, yet expected to pass.)

Teacher: “I’ve got one worse than that. He was some kind of Arab prince. Others at my school would bow to him and that sort of thing.”

Me: “Yes, I know the type. I went to school with one myself.”

Teacher: “Well, to continue with the courses at my school you have to have proficiency in basic electronics.  He didn’t have any, so he took my class… six times, to pass.”

Me: “What the heck was he doing? Partying the whole time?”

Teacher: “I can only assume. But here’s the really terrible part: He had his bachelor’s degree in electronics.”

Me: “That was a degree simply purchased.”

Teacher: “Yup.”

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Easy A

| Learning | March 13, 2015

(I’m set to give a final exam and not long before I leave to give it, I get a phone call from an ‘A’ student who has taken another course with me, again with an ‘A’ and good contributions to class.)

Student: “Hey, I have a problem. We’ve got a crisis at work. Is there any way to re-schedule a make-up exam for me?”

Me: “Well, it’s really cutting it close.”

Student: “I told my boss I had a final exam and he said ‘it’s the class or your job.'”

Me: “You know you could fail the final and still get a good grade? But I’m not going to put you on the spot. You’ll just get an ‘A’ on the exam, so that’s what I’ll give you. Go deal with your crisis and I’ll hope to see you in another class.”

Student: “Thank you so much.”

(Yes, some of us love our students.)

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The Philosophy Of Honesty

| Learning | February 16, 2015

(It’s the first day of class and we’re going through the usual introductions. Name, major, where we’re from. The teacher also wants us to say why we’re taking philosophy. Everyone so far has said ‘I thought it would be interesting.’)

Me: “I needed a class in this area and this was the only thing that wasn’t full.”

Teacher: “So you don’t want to be in this class at all?”

Me: “No.”

Student: “At least she’s honest!”

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