Saturday, November 7, 2009

Humorous Quotes

Since yesterday’s post was depressing, I thought I’d lighten up a bit, instead of just feeling sorry for myself. Here are several quotes students have said over the years, which I vowed never to forget, and it turned out to be a good thing now that I have a blog. I have intentionally left incorrect words.

“Is the Protestants and Catholics fighting like that MTV show?”

A student asked this when I was passionately explaining the value of the separation of church and state. I had just gone over the British subjects being subjected to the monarchy switching from Catholicism to Protestantism several times, and what the ramifications were for the British people practicing the “wrong” religion. Not having seen the MTV show, I was speechless (though I figured that show probably had nothing to do with what I was talking about), but some students, who had seen the show, began making fun of her for the comparison.

“Were the witches during the Salem Witch trials, really witches?”

I don’t have a particular student for this one, since one fifth-grader asked a version of this question every single year. Maybe the concept of innocents being accused for something that doesn’t exist was difficult for ten-year-olds to grasp, having only just left their beliefs in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy behind. I always had to spend a good chunk of one class trying to explain that the alleged witches were just regular people accused without any proof. And in the end, I still don’t know if they were convinced.

“You borned a good daughter.”

My father was told this by a student, when he came on a field trip with my class to the Museum of Science to see an IMAX Lewis and Clark movie. I had been in charge of the class for a week, while the lead teacher was vacationing on some tropical island. We were sitting on a lawn, overlooking the canal and the Cambridgeside Galleria, having a picnic. This tickled and impressed my dad, since in the student’s own way, he was complimenting my father and me simultaneously, in perhaps, the oddest way possible.

“I’m allergic to water.”

This is a recent one, when I was subbing for that week in Science at a middle school. The seventh-grade students were watching a DVD about the Periodic Table, which was, at that moment, discussing lack of iodine available in the Tibetan people’s salt and the horrid afflictions they faced as a result (Goiters, blindness, retardation). The students responded by making fun of the Tibetan accents and mentioning how “ugly” the disease-ridden people appeared.

A few students were sitting at a lab table, instead of a desk, and squirted one another with water droppers. I told the three students to sit at desks instead. The two females complied, while the make stayed and pretended to be crying. Then he uttered the above ridiculous statement. I decided to let the student sit there, as a joined him to keep an eye on him.

Several minutes later, he asked, “Can I get a drink of water?” I opened my eyes wide. “But you’re allergic to water.” He made a face, but said nothing, and went back to watching the movie.

About twenty-minutes later, he asked, “Can I go to the bathroom?” I responded, as earnestly as I could, “I’m sorry, but there are too many pitfalls in there, with water in the sinks and toilet bowls. You’d better stay here until the end of class.” I enjoyed witnessing him sulk for the rest of class.

Often unintentionally, students provide a lot of humor, which makes teaching even more rewarding.


  1. The allergy thing O_o.

    It's the new catchall... When I worked in restaurants I had and number of people who sent back food claiming to be allergic to it, then order something else that has the same ingredients. When challenged one openly admitted to simply not liking the sauce the first dish was served in. Most times, people would just bluster and mutter incoherently.

    LoL or when I worked the front desk for a resort hotel. A customer claimed he couldn't fill his sheet because he was allergic to paper (at first I thought he was illiterate, but I later found out that he wasn't), so I was filling it out for him. It was then he sneezed and asked for a paper towel... Sigh.

    On the plane back from my last trip stateside there was a curious announcement. The flight attendant got on the PA and announced that "Someone onboard is highly allergic to nuts and nut elated products so please refrain from consuming or using nut related products during the flight."

    At least with the nut thing there probably somebody actually allergic to nuts.: j

  2. Those are great stories. I'd believe the first one, and it's funny because I'm mortified if I have to send something back. I only do it when I really have to.

    Allergic to paper? People amaze me.

    I once worked with this teacher who brought peanut butter cups to a movie theater even though someone in the class had an airborne peanut allergy. He was annoyed when another teacher and I told him he couldn't hand them out.