If He’s Not Careful, His Career Will Be Ancient History

, , , , , , | Learning | January 9, 2018

(We are in Ancient History, learning about Alexander the Great. My teacher is only a year or so qualified from an Oxbridge University, and is a stereotypical Oxbridge graduate: tweed jacket, glasses, and briefcase. He is very animated and passionate about his lessons and sometimes gets carried away in his excitement. Memorable moments are:)

Teacher: *teaching about the Siege of Tyre* “And there was a lot of man-on-man action– Wait, no!”

Teacher: *teaching about sacrificial animals* “And they were male goats, meaning, of course, they were very horny– Wait, what?”

Teacher: *teaching about a sea battle* “Because of that, the boats ran aground, and the soldiers were forced to die on the boat or swim, and the ones that died got very p***ed off– DON’T TELL ANYONE I SAID THAT!”

(Brilliant teacher. I’m doing Classical Civilisation A-Level because of his and my other Ancient History teacher’s passion for and excellence at teaching the subject. Unfortunately, he doesn’t teach me now, but every time I see him I remember these anecdotes.)

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Gladiatorial Combat Is Kosher

, , , , , | Learning | September 26, 2017

(I am in an upper-division theatre history class that is primarily for drama majors, no first-year students. One of the professor’s favorite sayings is, “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” On this day he is lecturing about popular Roman entertainments: gladiator vs. gladiator, gladiator vs. lion, lion vs. Christian, and so on. One student raises her hand.)

Student: “Were the Romans still mostly Jewish at this point?”

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Those Who Afrikaan’t Do

, | Learning | November 21, 2013

(My History teacher is away on jury duty, so we have a substitute teacher. Note: I was born in South Africa.)

Classmate: “So what language did you speak in Africa?”

Me: “English and Afrikaans. I learned both of them when I was little.”

Sub: “Don’t listen to her! Afrikaans isn’t a real language. She is making it up.”

Me: “No, it’s real. It is one of the 13 National Languages of South Africa.”

Sub: “You’re lying.”

Me: “If it wasn’t real, then why is it on Google Translate?”

Sub: “Stop lying before I write you up for disrupting class!”

(Needless to say, when my history teacher came back, he was unimpressed by the sub’s education.)

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A New World Of Sexy

| Learning | August 8, 2013

(We are drawing pictures of Christopher Columbus for a project. A student suddenly gets up and starts showing everyone her picture.)

Student #1: “Everyone! Check out my picture!”

Student #2: “Wow. He’s hot.”

Teacher: “Can I see?”

(Student #1 shows her picture.)

Teacher: *makes sounds of pleasure* “God. He’s…”

Student #1: “Sexy?”

Teacher: “That’s right! He’s a regular Sexy Christopher Columbus.”

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An Idea Whose Time Has Come And Saigon

, | Learning | July 7, 2013

(We are assigning topics for a project where we will be working in groups. One topic is the Vietnam War. Two students in our class are out because they were suspended for fighting with each other.)

Teacher: “Looks like we have the groups all assigned, now. So get to work.”

Student #1: “[Suspended Student #1] and [Suspended Student #2] are not here, but they need to be in a group.”

Teacher: “That’s true. Who wants one of them in their group?”

Student #2: “They can work together.”

Teacher: “I think that’s a really bad idea.”

Student #3: “No. it isn’t. They can do the Vietnam War project and reenact it for us.”

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