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  • Making Your (Data) Point For You

    | Santa Cruz, CA, USA | Math & Science, Students, Teachers

    Teacher: “You can learn a lot from one data point. If I hire a babysitter, and she shows up ten minutes late, I won’t hire her again. Next time, she’ll be twenty minutes late, or her car will break down, or—”

    (A student walks in late. He doesn’t sit down, instead staring around the classroom.)

    Teacher: “You here for Econ?”

    (The student wordlessly walks back out.)

    Teacher: “I saw his confused expression. I had one data point!”

    The Not So Wild West

    | USA | Books & Reading, Extra Stupid, History, Students

    (I am student teaching in a first grade classroom. As part of my solo teaching curriculum, we are reading ‘Sarah, Plain and Tall.’ We discussed the fact that it took place during westward expansion, and I am reviewing the idea the following day.)

    Me: “Does this book take place now?”

    Students: “No.”

    Me: “When do you think it took place?”

    Student #1: “A long time ago. In the 1990s.”

    Student #2: “I think 40 years ago.”

    Me: “…”

    Ignorance Versus Stupidity

    | VA, USA | Cheaters, Exams/Tests

    (Our history teacher has just handed back our quizzes, but kept back papers of two classmates. One of those classmates was known for his constant attempts to cheat off other people.)

    Teacher: “As you can see, I have kept [Classmate #1] and [Classmate #2]‘s papers. Unfortunately, [Classmate #1] missed several questions.”

    Classmate #1: “Aw, man!”

    Teacher: “Even more unfortunately, [Classmate #2], who sits directly behind her, has given the same wrong answers to those questions.”

    (At this point, Classmate #2 looks like a deer in the headlights.)

    Classmate #1: “Seriously? Why would you cheat off me? You know I’m dumb!”

    Teacher: “Now, now, you are not dumb. You are merely drowning in a sea of ignorance. That said, [Classmate #2] has in fact received a zero, and amply demonstrated the difference between ignorance and stupidity. Thank you!”

    Defying Gravity

    | London, England, UK | Math & Science, Teachers

    (During science class, my teacher is busy explaining the principles of gravity and how anything with mass exerts some gravitational pull. She initially describes this effect by using a board marker and herself to represent objects with mass but decides she isn’t getting her point across.)

    Teacher: “[My Name], stand up a second, please.”

    Me: *seeing where this is going* “Please, no…”

    Teacher: “Don’t be silly. Stand up now.”

    (I slowly stand.)

    Me: “Look, miss, I know what you’re about to say and I’m begging you, please don’t. Really, just don’t.”

    Teacher: *ignoring me and to the rest of the class* “Now both [My Name] and I have mass and therefore we are attracted to one another.”

    (At this the whole class bursts into laughter making all the usual remarks and causing me to become quite embarrassed; however, rather than noticing, my teacher decides to persist with the explanation.)

    Teacher: “And since we are attracted to each other in a zero-gee environment we would… come together.”

    (The class is continuing to laugh and I am just too embarrassed so I shout out.)

    Me: “Not really. More likely, given our current separation, we would bounce and then settle into some kind of orbit – i.e. we wouldn’t touch. Now if you are done humiliating me, I’m leaving.”

    (With that I walked out of the class. The teacher later phoned home and spoke to my Mum to apologize for what she later realized was inappropriate and to commend me on my understanding of gravity and orbital mechanics.)

    Baby Boom Goes Bust

    | USA | Rude & Risque, Teachers

    (I am in 8th grade history class. Our teacher is an older, eccentric man with an off-the-wall attitude about teaching. We love him. Today, we are a little more rowdy than usual before the start of class. After failing to get our attention, my teacher tries a different tactic.)

    Teacher: “Let’s talk about sex!”

    (Everyone stops talking and just stares at him.)

    Teacher: “Sex… between your grandparents!”

    Us: “Ewww!”

    Teacher: “Fantastic. Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about the Baby Boom…”


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