A Very Sing-Song Approach To Teaching

| Learning | April 10, 2015

(I teach a small class of middle school students. Today, they’re particularly rowdy and are singing popular songs throughout class.)

Me: “Okay, [Student], could you please sing question one?”

(The class bursts out laughing.)

Me: *laughing as well* “No, no! I meant read! I meant read!”

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Adulthood Had A Nice Ring To It

| Learning | December 30, 2014

(I’m wearing a ring with a large blue stone in it. My student is about seven years old. When he sees the ring, his eyes get big and he points at it.)

Student: “Did you get married?”

Me: “Hmm? No, this isn’t a wedding ring, kiddo. I just wear it ‘cuz I like it.”

Student: “Oh. Is it a diamond, though?”

Me: “Nope. Diamonds are traditionally clear and white.”

Student: “But if you DO get married, your husband gives you a diamond?”

Me: “That’s how most people do it.”

Student: “Like, for FREE?!”

Me: “Well, it’s a present. A very special present that you only give someone at a very important time.”

Student: “But only girls get diamonds?”

Me: “Usually it’s a man giving a ring to a woman, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.”

Student: “Oooooh. What if I want a diamond?”

Me: “Tell ya what, kiddo. When you grow up, if you meet someone you want to marry, ask nice and maybe they’ll give you one.”

Student: “YAAAAAY! Can we read Curious George now?”

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Don’t Be A Slave To History, Part 3

| Learning | September 15, 2014

(I am tutoring a 17-year-old student. He graduated from high school, but didn’t receive his diploma because he didn’t pass the U.S. History Regents. We’ve had a few interesting moments during various sessions. After reviewing a practice essay…)

Me: “What did you mean when you wrote that ‘Abraham Lincoln was shot by J.F.K. for independence and stuff.’? Did you mean J.W.B., John Wilkes Booth?”

Student: “Who is he? Our 60th President?”

Me: “Umm… we are only on our 43rd President. Also, when you say independence, are you referring to the liberation of slaves?”

Student: “Wasn’t that Washington and Jefferson?”


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Can’t Win The Name Game

| Working | August 29, 2014

(I work at a math tutoring room at a community college and three of my coworkers are all named Alex. I am a male in my early twenties. One day, I arrive and see a rare site of all three Alexes here at the same time standing outside the door to the tutoring center talking.)

Me: “Hi, Alexes!”

All Three Alexes: *various eye rolls and grumbles at my apparently unamusing joke*

(I go to sign in and get my name tag on when another coworker arrives. She is a rather pretty woman in her mid-twenties and is completely unaware of my previous joke.)

Coworker: “Hi, Alexes!”

All Three Alexes: *smiling and laughing at her apparently very amusing joke*

Me: “Wow, really?”

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Correct In Spirit

| Learning | April 8, 2014

(I’m working with a third grade student who struggles with reading and writing. Part of his tutoring program requires him to write sentences using words he is trying to master. One of the words is ‘form.’)

Me: “Okay, what’s your sentence for follow?”

Student: “I follow my teacher’s rules.”

Me: “Great sentence! I love that you’re using correct punctuation! Okay, next word is ‘form’ “.

Student: “My rum is in good form.”

(All of the other teachers slowly look at us.)

Me: “My rum? That’s not what you told me you were going to write!”

Student: “My rum… my room! My room is in fine form!”

Me: “Perfect! Let’s change the spelling on your paper, quickly!”

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