Bat On The Roof

, , , , , , | Learning | July 21, 2018

(In my high school, the musical theater program is incredible, and their performances are almost as popular as football games. This year’s “Fiddler On The Roof” makes its way onto the local news with a 30-second snippet from one of the songs before it shows for three nights. Between students, parents, and people who saw it on the news, the theater is packed. This theater also has bats and mice; the bats usually aren’t a problem as they are nocturnal, but the play is at night. A bat switches from flying over the audience to hiding in the rafters continuously as people are being seated. It causes quite a stir in the audience. Note: There is a snack bar outside but people are expected to eat in the lobby — because of the mice there is a very strict no-eating policy in the theater. Most people do it, anyway, including me.)

Student Announcer: *over mic* “Hello, and welcome to Fiddler On The Roof. Before we begin our show, we have a few rules to go over. First, there is no eating in the theater; please take any of the food from the snack bar you stuffed in your bags, thinking we wouldn’t notice, out to the lobby to eat .”

(She waits a moment.)

Student Announcer: “All right. As nobody has gotten up, I can only assume you all are the most perfect audience we have ever had, or you all ignored me and will continue to eat. This is against the rules for everybody except for the bat; he is a VIP guest. Secondly, please do not shout individual actors’ names during the performance; this takes the actors and the other audience members out of the performance. If you see the bat, please do not shout his name, either; he’s not an actor, but he is very sad he does not have a name. Do not worry; he will take his seat when we dim the lights.”

(The audience is dying of laughter as she talks. She goes over a few more rules.)

Student Announcer: “All right. I think that’s it. The bat has his seat? He has a water bottle and a brownie. Okay, now that the bat is settled in, we will begin our show momentarily.”

(The show went on amazingly; the actors were incredible and never broke character, and everybody was fully immersed in the show. Although we could see the bat flying around the audience and in front of the stage, we assumed with people moving around it wouldn’t fly onto the stage. Lo and behold, when two characters were “frozen in time” facing each other as the main character walked around giving his deep inner monologue, the bat began to fly around on stage. The actor ignored it, but the audience was dying of laughter during this very serious monologue. When the characters were “unfrozen,” the girl began proclaiming her love for the guy standing in front of her. It was supposed to be a serious moment, and despite the actress giving an amazing performance, the bat returned. As the bat flew around behind her, the guy across from her slightly broke character, and his eyes began following the bat. Eventually, the bat flew past directly behind the girl, a wing hit her hair, and then the bat flew directly into a curtain with an audible noise. The two other actors on stage tried to control their laughter and the actress tried to continue her performance while dealing with the fact that a bat just hit her. It was the funniest thing to happen out of such a serious performance.)

Towtal Ironny

, , , , | Learning | July 20, 2018

(I’m an English teacher, and I love what I do, but occasionally I spell words wrong when I write on the board; I get letters switched around in the word, or leave letters out of words without noticing. I’m normally open with the students when they notice any errors, because I want them to be open to owning their own mistakes and fixing them. This occurs during a lesson with year seven, when we are talking about irony:)

Me: “Does anyone else want to share an example of irony they came up with?”

Student: “Miss, isn’t it like how you’re an English teacher, but you can’t spell?”

Me: *pause* “Yes. Yes, it is. Thanks for that.”

(It was a good example, but we moved on quickly, as I didn’t know how to respond with dignity.)

Barbie Is Pooped

, , , | Learning | July 16, 2018

(I teach toddlers at a preschool. Being toilet trained is required for moving up to the next class. Some of my students of late have stubbornly refused to become trained, so I’ve stepped up my toilet training curriculum. We talk about the process frequently and read little books on the subject. As a result, they’ve become more interested. The bathroom in my classroom is just big enough to contain a toilet, a sink, and a chair for the teacher, and is open to the classroom. One of my students runs into the bathroom with a naked Barbie doll. She bends the legs and sits the doll on the edge of the toilet.)

Toddler: “Teacher [My Name]! Barbie go potty!”

(It’s a little weird, but she’s interested, so I decide to encourage it.)

Me: “Good job, Barbie!”

Toddler: “Barbie go poop now!”

Me: “That’s awesome! Barbie will get a sticker for going potty!”

(I found this hilarious, so I took a picture of the scene to send to her mother later. In the half-second I turned to set the camera on my desk behind me, the student generously gave Barbie a dip in the toilet. She proudly held up the dripping doll. I completed Barbie’s spa treatment with a liberal spray of bleach water and soap. Toddlers are fun.)

They’re Not In The Upper Percentile

, , , , | Learning | July 13, 2018

(I taught university courses but finally retired because the students seemed less and less prepared for university. Each year, the standards went down. One of the final straws that convinced me I was wasting my time was the following conversation:)

Student: “Professor, can you tell me my mark for the semester?”

Me: “Your final mark is 46 percent.”

Student: “Oh, out of what?”

The Studious Dead

, , , , , | Learning | July 10, 2018

(It is near the end of the year in middle school before we take the state tests. We have a great English teacher who is giving us fun essay prompts so that we can enjoy test prep more, since it’s pretty boring. These assignments are graded. The prompt today is for us to practice our persuasive essay writing, with an essay on whether or not humans could survive a zombie apocalypse. We are an “enriched” class, so, following the stereotype, most of us are really nerdy and have a lot of fun discussing the topic and writing about it. One student in my class who is known for complaining starts up. She complains every day, and has even yelled at our teacher on multiple occasions.)

Class: *talking quietly amongst ourselves and writing*

Student: *in a loud an obnoxious voice and standing up* “Mrs. [Teacher], the prompt is unrealistic. I don’t want to do it. A zombie apocalypse is never going to happen, so it doesn’t matter if we would survive or not.”

Class: *goes quiet*

Teacher: *about done with her complaints at this point* “[Student], your idea that complaining will help you pass the state test is unrealistic. Sit down and start writing, or if you really don’t want to do it, then take an F. I’m trying to make this fun for you guys.”

Student: “I can’t take an F. I need straight As to keep my honor roll streak, but this assignment is stupid and I’m not doing it.”

Teacher: “Well, if you don’t do it, you get an F, and if you keep complaining, you can leave. Neither is going to get you on the honor roll, though, [Student].”

Student: “That’s not fair. This is so stupid.”

Teacher: “Life isn’t fair. Now, you can either sit quietly and do your work, or take an F and leave.” *calmly sits back into her chair watching*

Student: “UGH!” *sits down and pouts*

Teacher: *smiles to herself at her victory*

(I love this teacher.)

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