Don’t Bank On His Language Skills

, , | Newark, NJ, USA | Learning Right | February 15, 2018

Throwback ThursdaysThrowback Thursday! Here’s a terrific story you may not have seen before.  Do you have a story about a mistaken translation in a language lesson?  Danos su historio en los comentarios!


(I’m an after-school English tutor for our exchange students. The assignment today is a brief speech about what everyone in your family does, but no dictionaries are allowed while they’re writing the speech.)

German Student: “Okay. I can go first?”

Me: “Okay, [German Student], go ahead.”

German Student: “My mother is a nurse. She works at a big hospital in Essen. She takes care of new babies who are born with sickness. When she was young, she was a nurse in Moscow. My father is an ATM. He—”

Me: *interrupting* “A what?”

German Student: “ATM.”

Me: “A banker?”

German Student: “No! ATM! He met my mother at hospital! He is a wagon-driver!”

(He makes siren noises and flashes the classroom lights.)

Me: “Oh… an EMT?”

German Student: “Oh, yes. EMT.”

(He finishes the speech without incident. Next up is a nervous Spanish student.)

Spanish Student: “My father, uh, is… My father is an avocado.”

(His father is an ‘abogado’: a lawyer.)

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Don’t Go Seeking Answers You Won’t Like

, , , , | Learning | February 14, 2018

(This is a story that my sociology teacher likes to tell us before we take a test, to help us shake off some stress. We have yet to see proof of whether it’s true or not, but, given some of the idiocy I’ve seen in this school, I wouldn’t be surprised. The students are taking a multiple-choice test, with a sheet in front of them displaying the questions and the answers they can pick from. After the time limit is up, each student swaps tests with someone on the other side of the room and marks the other person’s paper with a green pen as the teacher reads out the right answers. Just after marking, one student lets this gem slip:)

Student: “Hey! The answers were the same letters that were in bold on the sheet!”

(The class goes silent and looks at each other in confusion, then at the sheets they used. None of them have anything highlighted in bold.)

Teacher: “What?”

Student: “Look! On my sheet, question one has A in bold! A was the right answer!”

(The teacher walks over and determines that the student somehow got her hands on the answer key. Normally, the student would have to retake the test another time, and the teacher would mark it before the next lesson so they couldn’t have gotten a result through using the key. However, when getting the student’s test to throw it away, the teacher notices something odd with her grade. To pass and not have to retake it after school, students must get at least 23 out of 30 correct. The student in question got 16, so she would have failed, anyway. The teacher comments on this.)

Teacher: “You had the answer key. Why is your result so low?”

Student: “I just thought the printer had gone funny!”

Evacuation Recreation

, , , , | Learning | February 12, 2018

My school has had a lot of problems with fire alarms. In previous years, it’s been chemistry classes; one of my classrooms actually had a cup duct-taped over the fire alarm so that the chemistry classes wouldn’t accidentally set it off. Most recently, the idea is that it’s been the people smoking in the bathroom.

Sometimes it’s just the system malfunctioning, but whatever causes it, it’s gotten so bad that someone actually goes on the intercom and tells us if it’s a false alarm or not.

We’re in class and the alarm goes off. My teacher stops talking for a moment until it stops, and then continues the lecture. It starts up again. This happens several times. Eventually people start joking that one day there’s going to be an actual fire and no one’s going to leave.

It reaches a point that my teacher looks outside and asks other teachers if we should evacuate or not. Once some other classes start to leave, our class goes to the evacuation area, too. I’m really paranoid, so I’m looking really carefully at the air and all the buildings, but I don’t see or smell smoke at all. Word starts to spread between the classes that yes, there is an actual fire. Nothing comes of it, and after we’re told we can go back to class, that day continues as normal. No fire trucks, no news about the fire in any official sense, just the alarm, a very confused evacuation, and then we return to class.

What actually caused the fire, we eventually discover, was the long-time physics teacher. He put a hot pocket in the microwave for 20 minutes, rather than two. After that, the teachers are banned from having microwaves, but that doesn’t stop any of them.

There’s A Hole In Your Argument

, , , , , | Right | February 11, 2018

(It’s lunchtime at my school and I decide to pass some time by watching a popular YouTuber who’s known for calling herself a proud “holosexual.” A couple of my friends notice and we start to talk about her. Afterwards…)

Friend: *whispering to me* Isn’t ‘holosexual’ also term for someone who likes anal?”

(She isn’t living that one down anytime soon!)

Cracked This Class

, , , , , | Learning | February 11, 2018

(Our class has just finished watching a movie about a child custody dispute:)

Student #1: “It didn’t seem realistic how she gave up trying to get custody in the end.”

Student #2: “Yeah. In the real world, they’d fight for years and neglect the kid, and he’d end up addicted to crack.”

Me: “Well, how many of you have divorced parents?”

(Half of the other students raise their hands.)

Me: “And how many of you are on crack?”

(There’s a brief, awkward pause.)

Student #2: “No one’s going to answer that one.”

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