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    Getting The Elementary Facts

    | OH, USA | Family & Kids, Students

    (My high school has a program where students from a class form groups and teach a lesson to elementary school students. My friends and I are introducing ourselves to our class of second graders.)

    Friend: “So my name is [Friend] and I am going to college to be a nurse next year.”

    (I notice a student with her hand up and call on her.)

    Student #1: “My mom is a nurse!”

    Me: *since we are still setting up* “That’s really cool.”

    (Another student raises hand, and I call on him.)

    Student #2: “My mom is a doctor.”

    Me: “Neat!”

    (A third student has her hand up, and I’m starting to be agitated. I call on her, though.)

    Student #3: “My mom is a butt doctor.”

    (The teacher was not amused but it made our day.)

    Directionless Lies

    | USA | Geography, Students, Tutors

    (I volunteer twice a week in the local elementary school’s reading mentors program. Today, as I am working with my student behind one of the dividers, I hear the following exchange take place.)

    Mentor: “Can you find Brazil on the map?”

    Boy: “No. These maps! They lie to me!”

    (The poor mentor then tries to gently encourage the little fellow not to tell the booklet that it is a liar.)


    Heavy Metal Meets Rock’n’Roll

    | USA | Bizarre/Silly, Extra Stupid, Tutors

    (While sitting at a desk behind a divider, helping one of my students read a book, I hear a boy I do not recognize talking to his mentor:)

    Boy: “What is metal?”

    (Surprised, the mentor stutters for a minute.)

    Mentor: “Well, the chair is metal and the table legs are metal; surely he know what metal is!”

    Boy: “Are you metal?”

    Mentor: “No, dear, I am human.”

    Boy: “No? But I am. My head is like a rock.”

    (I have no idea who that child was, but he’s awesome.)

    Appease With A Please

    | Galesburg, IL, USA | Language & Words, Teachers

    (It is my fifth grade year. We are in the computer lab, with two people to a computer. My partner and I have agreed that I will go first. However, when I start doing the activity, she repeatedly reaches in front of me, trying to grab the mouse.)

    Me: “[Partner], stop it!”

    Teacher: “Who said “stop it?”

    Me: *thinking she’s going to tell [Partner] to leave me alone* “I said stop it.”

    Teacher: “Is that appropriate language?”

    Me: *not wanting to be confrontational and get into more trouble* “Umm… no?”

    Teacher: “What should you have said?”

    Me: “…[Partner], please stop it?”

    Teacher: “Very good. I’ll only take five minutes off your recess.”

    Me: *whispering to [Partner]* “She should have heard what [Student] said when he lost at tetherball the other day.”

    Blind To His Color Blindness

    | Edmonton, AB, Canada | Art/Design, Parents

    (I am touring my son’s grade-three classroom during parent-teacher night. The walls are decorated with students’ landscape drawings, some of which have the child’s name printed on them and some don’t. I see a picture with the trees, grass, and sky depicted in colours not found in nature.)

    Me: “That’s [Son]’s drawing, isn’t it?”

    Teacher: “Yes, it is. How did you know?”

    (Every year I write a note to his current teacher, explaining that he is profoundly colour-blind, but they never seem to pay any attention.)

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