Thursday, July 17, 2008

In the Same Vein

Wow, all this talk about teaching high school has really made me miss it. Except for the grading part, of course, which only fools would miss.

I used to know a teacher who would grade every piece of paper that hit her grading box the same day she received it. Except of course, she made exceptions for the big essays. Those took her a whole weekend. And I was lucky just to get everything graded by the end of the term. Whatever. I think one time she asked if she could help me and I gave her some papers to grade, which is, of course, totally lame, but she was like "Grading Girl", the superhero (and yes, now I have reached a new low in ultra-geekiness, but again, whatever.)

My point here, buried somewhere beneath the random musings on how much I hated grading papers, was to tell you one of my favorite stories from high school teaching.

I taught English 10 Honors, and oh, did I love it. Those kids wanted As, and they would work to get them. And man, did they want those As. It's one of the few times when students would come up to me and be all, "Hey, um, I have a A-, it's a 92%, and I'm just wondering if I can do some extra credit to boost my grade to over 100%?"

And I would say no, because that's what I do. I say no. It kept me drug-free and came in real handy during the teaching years. It's not working so badly during the parenting years either.

Anyway, one day we had finished writing personal narratives and some of the students were reading them out loud to the class.

Mike, a loud, funny class clown kind of kid, had volunteered, because hello? Spotlight? Sign him up! (Don't worry, Mike, I'm the same way.) Mike wasn't the typical Honors student, in that he was pulling a B- and feeling fine about it. We all listened attentively (because it was Honors! people! We were respectful like that!) until I heard this:

"Then my brother turned his snowmobile and headed for the jump. When he got to the top of the jump, he totally did a promiscuous jump."

A little surprised, I said, "Hey, Mike, back it up. What did you just say?"

He repeats, "He totally did a promiscuous jump." He's nonchalant.

"So, what does 'promiscuous' mean?" I ask, choking back laughter. Seriously choking.

"Oh, I don't know. I just put it in there because it was a big word." Mike shrugs his shoulders, like I'm so lame for asking such a weird question.

And then I lost it and started laughing hysterically for a good three minutes--shoulders shaking, tears streaming, belly heaving.

"Oh, Mike," I finally say between chortles, "I'm not laughing at you," and then I stop and laugh some more and just decide to be honest with the poor thing. "No actually, I am laughing at you. Did you know that 'promiscuous' means sexually loose or immoral?"

Mike was embarrassed, but we all laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed the entire rest of the year. Almost every time Mike made a comment, another person in the class would say, "So would you say that was 'promiscuous', Mike?" and poor Mike would blush all over again. He was such a great sport.

Just to make him feel better, I told him this story about me. It's nice to know you're not alone in dropping sexual innuendo in the classroom, after all.


Beeswax said...

In my Spanish 3 class in high school, I gave an oral report on Julia Iglesias, where I told everyone he had 57 anuses (confused anos with a tilde over the N with anos, no tilde. Rookie mistake.) But then when the teacher corrected me, I said "estoy muy embarasada." which means I'm very pregnant, not embarrassed. It wasn't a good day. I might have gotten 'f'd for that one.

Kati said...

Yay! I'm so glad you told that story, that was one of the funniest days ever! I can still see you over on that couch shaking with laughter and crying, while the rest of us were looking at each other wondering what we'd missed. Being naive 10th graders ("The Good Earth" anyone?), none of the rest of us knew what it meant either. Good times, good times... he is never going to live that down.

debbie said...

Thanks for making me laugh out loud!! LOVE both the stories!! I am having flashbacks of just how hard you would get me laughing in the good old days!! Seriously, I remember th whole tears streaming down the face - makes my head hurt, laughing. So many memories running through my head, I am laughing just remembering them all!!

Go Cubbies said...

I am still distraught about the B- that you gave Ryan Mayo and I on our princess bride book. That was the best book I have ever written! I even colored make up on her. I ran across that book a few months ago and didn't have the heart to get rid of it. Some day you will realize the true talent we had!

Carol said...

This was in Pleasant Grove they may have had promiscuous removed from dictionaries there.

I want more school stories, the combination of you and teenagers is just so entertaining.

JustRandi said...

Both those stories are priceless!
I think I've blocked most of high school from my memory. Well, that or I'm just getting too old to remember!

Jill said...

Too funny!
You remind me of my 10th grade World History teacher. She made learning so much fun.

Except for that time when she locked me in the closet.................

Becca & Jake said...

I totally forgot about that! I swear, the hilarity just never ended in that class!