Friday, February 12, 2010

February's Humorous Teaching Moments

Me to two students who were bickering during group work: “You sound like me and my husband. I say I agree with him to get him off my back, then I give him the silent treatment to show him that I really don't agree.”

My social studies class is causing me to regret letting them work in groups to write skits illustrating the steps that our Neolithic ancestors went through to move from hunter gatherers to more settled communities. It’s going OK, but yesterday, I thought one group of boys might start stabbing each other with pencils. And, when I took a look at the work of a group that is changing the words of a song to show the steps, I realized that the song is about sex. I realized that because I saw that they’d chosen to leave in a line about “let’s skip the foreplay and get right to it.”

Me: “You need to change this section here.”
Kids: “Huh? Why?”
Twelve years of teaching have taught me that 11 year olds do not know the word “foreplay,” among many others, so I just say, “This line has nothing to do with settling down. That’s the whole point of using the song. You CHANGE it, you don’t just sing it like it is.”
Kids: “But we like how it says…” and they start to sing the line for me.
Me: “Stopstopstop. I can see what it says. I’m telling you, you need to change it. What if you change it to…” I offer some brilliant suggestions.
Kids look at me blankly: “Can we just leave it in there?”
Me: “NO. That song is about a romantic interlude, and if you don’t change the words, it’s going to be inappropriate.”
Kids look at me like I’m speaking Martian.
Me: “Trust me. CHANGE THE WORDS.”
Kids look at each other, give each other a “God, she’s weird” look, shrug their shoulders, and go back to work on the song.

A few other funny teaching stories:
 “Discussing Pregnancy- And My Butt- With Students."
 “Debating Britney.”
It’s really the boys that you have the funny conversations with. They're usually a little sassier than the girls. Usually.

I also had a funny conversation yesterday with a boy who I was telling to stop playing with his bangs. It’s the trend for boys to have long hair these days, and every day in my class, this boy arranges his bangs in a perfect line with his eyebrows. Like, several times. I am easily distracted and cannot deal with that, so I’m going to see if he can stop. I mean, if it’s an OCD tic, I’ll gladly allow it, but if it’s a habit out of boredom, he can sort my pen drawer for me.

No comments: