Today, I set a reporting task to one of my classes. I explained exactly how I wanted them to lay it out, then I repeated the instructions to make sure they were clear. I then asked if there were any questions on the assignment. No one responded, so I told them to get on with it. About five minutes later a hand went up and the student asked if she could do it – well, exactly as I had described how to do it. There are times when I serious wonder if some of my students aren’t just memes waiting to happen.
One of the ongoing trials of being an educator is dealing with students that have an overblown sense of their own comedic prowess. The proverbial class clowns often call out with inappropriate comments which fail to achieve the heights of humour which they envisioned. This usually leads to their outbursts being reprimanded and a scramble to bring the lesson back on course.
I was recently teaching a lesson on religious responses to social injustice, and to prejudice and discrimination in particular. As we were working on the vocabulary that is necessary for such a study, I asked for the definition of homophobia, to which one student called out “Homerphobia is the fear of the Simpson’s.” The response caught me off-guard, and while still needing to be challenged, I could help but to tip my hat to the wit.
Evie was called forward in the assembly and the principal announced that she was the winner of the essay contest. Many of her peers looked on jealously as she was handed the certificate and the £30 voucher.
“Evie,” Mrs. Baxter said. “Your essay was unique, and was a breath of fresh air for all of us judges. Many of your competitors seemed to follow the same line of argument, and there was a surprising similarity even in much of their wording. How did you manage to write something so original?”
“Well, I um, I made it a point to not use Wikipedia at all, and in fact, once I started following that rule, I decided to avoid using the internet at all.”
“But, how could you possibly have managed gathering all of that clever information without the web?” the principal asked in astonishment.
“Well, after school one day, I missed the bus. So I had to wait for my mum. She said to meet her by the side exit, so I went down a hall that doesn’t get used much and I found a really weird room that no one seemed to know about. It was all full of books and stuff, so I had a peek. Before I knew it my mum was ringing me, asking why I hadn’t come out yet. I told here I was reading an actual book. Soon the “Library” became my favourite place in the school, and no one ever bothered me there. I used the books to research my essay.”
“How novel,” Mrs. Baxter said. She then turned to the deputy head and whispered, “Did you know we still had a library?” Mr Turner just shrugged.