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.