Your Behavior Is On The Wire

, , , , | Learning | June 13, 2017

(Most of the science teachers at my high school are awesome and well-liked by the students. One, however, is not. She is harsh, rude, and disliked by all of her students as well as the other science teachers. She teaches an “Introduction to Physics” class that you take for half your freshman year; the other half of the year, you take “Introduction to Chemistry.” After the first few weeks of the semester — plenty of time for all of us to develop our hate for her — she’s giving us the safety lecture before we do our first lab.)

Teacher: “Remember, safety is very important. If you follow the proper procedures, you’ll have nothing to worry about when working with even the most dangerous materials. Let me give you an example.”

(She pours some kind of black powder on her table, then sets a thick wire about a foot away from the pile of powder. The wire has a frayed end that is glowing noticeably.)

Teacher: “Now, this wire currently has a live electrical current running through it, and this powder is very electrically conductive. I need both of these for this experiment, but I must never let the two touch directly. But it’s all right to have them both on the table, because I’m trained in proper lab safety and am keeping them apart from each other.”

(Less than a minute later, she’s reaching down the table to grab a flask. On the way back, her arm brushes the wire, dragging it into the pile of black powder. There’s a flash, a loud BANG, all the lights in the room go off, and the teacher falls to the floor like a sack of cement, hidden from our view by her table. The entire class sits there in stunned silence for several seconds. Eventually, a friend of mine turns to me.)

Friend: “Did she just blow out the room’s fuses?”

Me: “I think so.”

(The teacher is still on the floor. After almost a minute, she finally staggers to her feet.)

Teacher: “What happened?”

Entire Class: “You let the wire touch the powder.”

(We all hated her so much that we had simply continued to sit there in the dark, not one of us wanting to go check on her.)

Leaving A Negative Impression

, , , , | Learning | June 9, 2017

(I am completing my last chemistry lab of the year. The lab was designed based on a textbook the school no longer uses, so our instructor is explaining how to finish the lab report. This teaching assistant is good at demonstrations, but rarely listens to your questions before answering them.)

Teacher’s Assistant: “So, when copper is the cathode, you make the number negative before you solve the equation.” *points to a number on a piece of paper I can’t see*

Me: “Which number?” *there are two possibilities*

Teacher’s Assistant: “When the copper is the cathode.”

Me: “Yes, but which number do I make negative?”

Teacher’s Assistant: “When the copper is the cathode.”

Me: “I asked which number, not when to do it.”

Teacher’s Assistant: *walks over to me, points and where I wrote “Cu” on my lab report* “You see how there the copper is a cathode?”

Me: “Yes! But, do I make this number—” *points* “—or this number—” *points* “negative!”

Teacher’s Assistant: “The voltage of copper.” *leaves annoyed*

(If it was that easy why not tell me the first time I asked?)

That Wall Can’t Keep Out The Stupid

, , , , | Learning | June 7, 2017

(Our teacher is lecturing us on forms of energy. She says that wind is a form of energy and air is not. She then calls on a student because he is not paying attention.)

Teacher: “What did I just say?”

Student: “What?”

Teacher: “What did I just say?”

Student: “Wind is a form of energy!”

Teacher: “Good. What else did I say?”

Student: “Umm…”

Teacher: “What is not a form of energy?”

Student: “A wall!”

(I had to bite my lip to stop my laughter.)

They’re Over The Moon

, , , , | Friendly | June 7, 2017

(A few years back, I was volunteering behind the scenes at the planetarium. One day I am taking a shortcut through the exhibit space. A young boy comes in with sort of a dismissive attitude. He looks at a plastic pyramid, about 12 cm tall, with something in it.)

Visitor: *disparagingly* “What’s THAT?”

Me: “That? It’s a piece of the Moon.”

Visitor: “You mean all this stuff has been in space?”

Me: “Yup.”

Visitor: “WOW!” *starts really looking at the Apollo exhibits*

The Bitter Truth

, , | Learning | June 6, 2017

(This is an eighth grade science class, and we are talking about genetics. Our teacher hands out slips of paper which he says have PTC on them, an extremely bitter chemical which only some people can taste. The students are not informed that it tastes bitter.)

Teacher: “Have any of you ever tasted PTC before?”

(Several students raise their hands, including Student #1 and Student #2.)

Teacher: “Place the paper on your tongue. How many of you can taste it?”

(Student #1 raises hand, and exclaims:)

Student #1: “It tastes sweet, kinda like sugar paper!”

(A few other students raise their hands.)

Student #2: *who has tasted it before* “I don’t taste anything.”

Teacher: “THAT was a normal piece of paper. You weren’t supposed to taste anything.”

(The class burst out laughing, while Student #1, who was obviously lying, became slightly red and sheepish. The teacher then handed out the slips of paper ACTUALLY infused with PTC, which was extremely bitter and made several students rush to the water fountain.)

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