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He’s Not Gonna Make The Cut

| Learning | June 27, 2013

(The eighth grade students are practicing their lines for a Christmas musical. One student has the part of a western-style character.)

Student: “Ya know, we gotta be makin’ this day special! We need some pomp, an’ we need some circumcisions!”

Me: “CIRCUMSTANCES! As in pomp and circumstances.”

(Thankfully, none of the students noticed. He finally got the line right for the performance, after a few more tries!)

Be Sure To Copy The Right Copy, Part 2

| Learning | June 6, 2013

(I teach sixth grade and students have just finished a test and are transitioning to their next class. As the other students are leaving, one boy approaches me.)

Student #1: “Mrs. [my name], during the test [student #2], was asking me for the answers.”

Me: “Okay. Thank you for telling me. I will look into—”

Student #1: “So I gave him the wrong answers.”

(I could not help but laugh. He got a high five and some candy. Student #2 failed the test.)


Now Your’e Just Axe-ing For It

| Learning | June 4, 2013

(Our history teacher is notoriously terrifying. He gives students detentions for almost everything. He is also a Lord of the Rings fan. My sister is late to class.)

Teacher: “[Sister’s name], why are you late?”

(My sister takes a breath and puts her hands behind her back.)

Sister: “But sir, a student is never late. Nor is she early. She arrives precisely when she means to.”

(The teacher blinks for a second.)

Teacher: “Is that so?” *points at the board* “A wizard detention for Gandalf, then!”

(My sister writes her name on the board.)

Teacher: “Good. Now, then—” *spins around and looks at me* “You know what I don’t get? Gimli smashes his axe on the Ring, and it breaks. Then one second later, HE HAS ANOTHER AXXXE!”

Student: “Maybe he has a spare?”

Teacher: “What, a cart full of axes behind him? Anyway. We have a different schedule today, so your lunch period will be separated.”

Me: “Cut in half, as it were.”

Teacher: “Like an orc.”

Me: “…or Frodo’s finger.”

(Only three of the students plus my sister and I understood the references, unfortunately. My sister served about three seconds in detention before she was let go early by the teacher.)

Sphere Today, Polygon Tomorrow

| Learning | May 28, 2013

(We are looking at basic geometry, and our teacher is rather condescending and is treating us all like we have no idea what shapes were.)

Teacher: “So, the least amount of sides a shape can have is how many?”

Me: “Two!”

Teacher: “No! [My name] clearly needs to learn basic shapes. The least amount of sides a shape can have is three. Two sides is not possible.”

Me: “But—”

Teacher: “Why not come up to the board and try to draw a shape with two sides?”

(I slowly walk up to the front of class, and silently draw a semi-circle on the board, then return to my seat.)

Teacher: “Well…”

(The topic was dropped, and we moved on. That teacher treated me badly for the rest of my four years in middle school, but it felt good knowing that as a nine year old, I knew what I was talking about.)

Learning Can Be Chainful

| Learning | May 22, 2013

(I’m helping my daughter with her geography.)

Me: “… and what’s the name of a group or chain of islands?”

Daughter: “Archipelago.”

(She pronounces it “ark-i-puh-LAA-go.”)

Me: “It’s pronounced ‘ark-i-PEL-ago.'”

Daughter: “You’re wrong. Our teacher says ‘ark-i-puh-LAAAA-go.'”

(I open up Dictionary.com, look up “archipelago” and presses the “say” button several times.)

Dictionary.com: “ark-i-PEL-ago, ark-i-PEL-ago, ark-i-PEL-ago.”

Daughter: “Okay! Stop! Stop!”

Dictionary.com: “ark-i-PEL-ago! ark-i-PEL-ago! ark-i-PEL-ago!”