We Learn Nothing From History

| Fishers, IN, USA | Extra Stupid, Geography, Students

(I am a substitute teacher. I’m in a ninth grade-level World History class. The students are studying for an upcoming test on the Middle Ages. I decide to quiz the students on some basic facts they should know.)

Me: “Who knows the importance of the year 1066?”

Student #1: “Isn’t that when William Shakespeare invaded Jerusalem?”

Student #2: “No, you’re thinking of the Crusades. That’s when Shakespeare invaded France!”

Student #3: “No, that didn’t happen until the 1300s. 1066 is when some French dude invaded an island somewhere.”

Student #4: “Oh! That’s when Charlemagne invaded England!”

Me: “1066 is when William the Conqueror invaded England from France.”

Student #1: “Well, I got the William part right.”

Student #2: “And I knew the French had something to do with it!”

Student #3: “And England’s on an island.”

Student #4: “So we kind of got it right, right?”

(I wonder if any of them passed the test.)

This Class Is A Car-Wreck

| MI, USA | Bizarre/Silly, Students

(I am taking driver’s ed in the late 1970s at the YMCA. It is an odd class in that it is made up of students from good private schools too small to have a program of their own, rural students (again, too small for a program), students who flunked at big schools, and the occasional person who just didn’t fit in anywhere. Median age is about two years higher than normal. Questions to the class get some bizarre answers:)

Teacher: “How many of you have crashed a car and how old were you?”

Farm Kid: *raises hand* “Me, when I was 10.”

Teacher: “On a farm, I assume. I had a farm kid who wrecked his first car at age four. Okay, let’s go around the class and tell what jobs you’ve got.”

Assorted Students: “Fast food place, car wash, babysitting, etc.”

(Weirdly enough, I was a magician’s assistant at the time.)

Girl: *about 17-18, made up to look 25, wears 8″ platform shoes, loud mini-skirt, tight top with some feather effect* “Um… unemployed?”

A Dynamic Approach To Grading The Exam

| Portland, OR, USA | Exams/Tests, Popular

(In my physics major we take a big exam junior year about everything we’ve had so far. The standard test questions are on traditional thermodynamics, but my year had had a course on statistical thermodynamics instead. In classic bureaucratic mix-up fashion, we’re told the test will still be normal thermo and cram like mad, while one of the teachers puts in extra hours making new stat thermo questions. That doesn’t end well for anyone.)

Scores Announcement: “We are aware of the mix-up regarding the thermodynamics portion of the exam and apologize for the difficulties. Re-takes of that portion will not be allowed, however we would like to note that for ‘totally unrelated reasons’ a score of 0 is the minimum passing grade for that section this year.”

Throw In A Bell-Curve-Ball

| Toronto, ON, Canada | Exams/Tests, Math & Science, Popular, Teachers

(We’re in Statistics class, a subject known for being quite difficult and which most people struggle with. We’ve just gotten our midterm marks back and our professor is talking to us about it.)

Professor: “So, I’ll start off with the bad news: 90% of you failed the exam.”

(The class groans and the professor goes on.)

Professor: “Now, this has never happened to any of my classes before, but I can’t have so many students failing the midterm. So what I’m going to do is bell curve the marks. You all know what a bell curve looks like – actually, you don’t, because most of you failed.”

A Bright Spot During The Dark Ages

| IN, USA | History, Teachers

(Astronomy class. We’re discussing star deaths, particularly one that happened in 1054.)

Professor: “It was observed by the Chinese. Not the Europeans; they were too busy at the time smashing each other’s heads in to do astronomy.”