Unintended Condescendences

| VA, USA | Extra Stupid, Language & Words, Students, Teachers

(Note: our Global Studies teacher has been treating us like we’re stupid all year.)

Teacher: “Today we will be discussing ‘unintended consequences.’ Can anyone tell me what an unintended consequence is?”

(The class collectively rolls their eyes; no one says anything.)

Me: *sarcastically* “Uh… consequences that are not intended?”

Teacher: “Exactly right! Can you repeat that for those who weren’t listening?”

Me: “…”

Getting Them Who-oked

, | UK | Art/Design, Geeks Rule, Students, Teachers, Top

Teacher: “Draw a picture of a spaceship.”

(Ten minutes later, the teacher walks around the classroom. The majority of students have drawn round flying saucers or Star Wars-type spaceships. However, one student has drawn a refrigerator.)

Teacher: “A refrigerator? That’s most certainly not a spaceship!”

Student: “Well, if the TARDIS, which is both a spaceship and time machine, looks like a police box, why can’t a spaceship look like a refrigerator?”

Teacher: *confused*

(This teacher didn’t know about Doctor Who but after this incident she got hooked. Same as some of the other students!)

Outsourcing 101

| New York City, NY, USA | Liars/Scammers, Staff, Students, Teachers, Top

(I am a secretary to the department chair, who is in her office. A student comes in.)

Student: “Hey, sorry, do you know where I can find Professor Aaronson?”

Me: “I’m sorry, who?”

Student: “Professor Aaronson. I’m in his every class twice a week. I couldn’t reach him by phone, and I can’t find his office.”

Me: “What course does he teach?”

Student: “Modern American Drama. Lit 317.”

(I look up the class, but it’s taught by Professor [name]. He has been with the university for 20 years and is well-known to all in the department. I tell the department chair, who calls the professor but gets no response. Later, she sits in on his class and returns with an odd expression.)

Me: “So, what was going on?”

Department Chair: “Professor [name] wasn’t there. He paid someone named Aaronson a fraction of his salary to teach his courses for him. I can’t find him, and Aaronson said he had been told it was all official and approved by the board.”

(I never met “Professor” Aaronson, and Professor [name] was fired, but props for coming up with an ingenious scheme to sub-let your own job!)

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Lost Innuendo Translation

| Jingbian, China | Language & Words, Rude & Risque, Staff, Students, Teachers, Top

(My fiancé and I are English teachers in China. One day, while we’re in our office with our Foreign Affairs director, a male student walks in.)

Student: “Excuse me… um… may I… uh… ask you a… question?”

Fiancé:: “Sure, [student’s name]. What do you need?”

Student: “You… help me, my English?”

Fiancé:: “Of course! Any time! When would you like to study? You can come to our apartment later, we have an office in there.”

Student: “Oh, thank you! Can I try… different question?”

Me: “Go right ahead! Ask whatever you’d like! It’s good practice!”

Student: “Oh, thank you! ”

(He thinks very hard for a moment, trying to think of what to say. He finally turns to my fiancé.)

Student: “Can I… uhh… sleep… with you?”

(My fiancé’s face goes pale and, though I try to keep my composure, I start to giggle a little. The Foreign Affairs director, who is the only one in our town with good English, suddenly realizes what the student has said.)

Director: “OH! He wants to know if he can stay at your apartment overnight to help him study!”

(The student at this point looks VERY confused. The Foreign Affairs Officer explains to the student what he said in Chinese; he turns very red once he realizes it.)

Student: “Oh…OH! NO! No, no, no!”

Fiancé:: “It’s okay; I know what you meant. You can come over to study, but I don’t think it would be a good idea to stay with us all night.”

(By this point I’m laughing uncontrollably. The student did come over for that study session, and we made some progress!)

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There’s Always Time For Adverbs

| Maryland, USA | Language & Words, Students, Teachers

(The teacher has given us a paper listing students’ current grades to be passed around while he lectures. About half way into the lesson…)

Student: “Where’s the grade sheet at?”

Teacher: “You don’t end a sentence with a preposition.”

Student: “Okay. Where’s the grade sheet at NOW?”