(There is a student who is habitually late for class because she hangs around her locker gossiping with her friends until the bell rings, and then makes a mad dash for class. She is usually anywhere from four to six minutes late. When chastised for the habitual tardiness, she might be on time or – more usually – only a little late for the next class, but by the second class she’d be back to the usual time. One day she comes racing into her first class just a few seconds after the bell rings, and the teacher dryly comments.)
Teacher: “Congratulations, [Student]. you’re late a little earlier than usual!”
(The class chuckles.)
Student: *protesting* “But, Mr. [Teacher], I’m not late. I just got here!”
(The entire class, including the teacher, immediately cracks up.)
Teacher: “You do have a valid, if poorly phrased, point.”
(It is the first day of a college-level British literature class. The teacher has just announced that we will be reading ‘Jane Eyre’ throughout the semester, and is giving a standard ‘first day’ lecture – going over the syllabus, talking about different editions of the book that are available, etc…)
Teacher: “…and that’s the edition I’ll be using, in case you want to reference my page numbers. The next—”
(Suddenly, a student in the front row puts her hand in the air.)
Student: “What will we be DOING with this book?”
(The teacher stares blankly at her for a moment, apparently trying to decide whether she is serious.)
Teacher: “… Reading it. And talking about it.”
Student: “Will we have to write things about it?”
Teacher: *staring harder* “… Yes.”
(The girl considers this information while the teacher moves to resume her lecture. The moment she opens her mouth, the same student puts her hand in the air again.)
Student: “Can we read Shades of Grey instead?”
(I am an ESL teacher. I try to keep a constant dialogue going with my students, so they get used to hearing and responding in English and so the language is less intimidating. This happens after I have handed out worksheets for students to complete in pairs.)
Me: “There, now. Are we ready? Does every pair have a copy of the worksheet?”
Student: *raising his hand, nervously* “Teacher, no. We didn’t get the worksheet!”
Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. Here’s one for you two, too.”
Student: *looks at me with confusion, and a little bit of fear* “One, four…?”
Me: “Yes, one for—oh!” *realizing what I’ve said* “I mean, here’s a worksheet for both of you, as well!”
(We are in math class. Our teacher uses an overhead projector to teach lessons. Whenever he wants us to listen, he says:)
Teacher: “Everyone drop your pencils! This is important!”
(One day he must have been distracted.)
Teacher: “Okay! Drop your pants!”
(The class erupts in laughter.)
Teacher: “Pencil! I meant PENCIL! Now, don’t go telling your parents…”
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PS: Congratulations to a lucky reader for winning February’s Themed Story Giveaway, which featured stories about Beating The Bullies. The winning submission: Pulling It Down To Their Level (949 thumbs up).
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