March 5, 2009

Words better left unsaid

Posted in School Smiles at 3:22 pm by livethelifeyoudream


I teach teenagers and there are some words that you just don’t want to say or even think in front of them.

Today’s example is pretty innocuous. We are reviewing for a test over Of Mice and Men and I asked, “What does Lennie wanted to stroke?”  I’m sure you can imagine the response I received. The class filled with mostly boys snickered, and even I smiled at the sound of this question. The answer is Curley’s wife’s hair—clearly.

Over the years I’ve had my share of other phrases gone wrong.

When I was a new teacher I had to teach Moby Dick, the classic American novel by Herman Melville. Now there is a story with two words you don’t want to say in front of adolescents: Dick and seaman. I ended up calling them men of the sea because I couldn’t say the words aloud. I usually just called Moby Dick the “great white whale”.

I have since mastered the art of keeping a straight face. The important thing is not to laugh. They don’t teach you this in college, but trust me, laughter only fuels them more.

There is one story, however, that takes the cake. The one story that my family still finds funny and teases me about. The superhero assignment gone wrong. I had the students create an original superhero. One group of bold boys created “MILF Man”.

I’m telling you I was completely ignorant. I stood before the front of the class and read a brief description of each group’s superhero. I came to “MILF Man” and confidently held up the superhero picture that they decorated and read their description. I asked questions, and even though I don’t remember exactly what I asked or what their answers were, I had a feeling that something wasn’t quite right. The class laughed a little bit too much.

Don’t worry, my loving husband filled me in and the students were punished. And if you don’t know what MILF means, talk to a teenager.

I think I am going to have to start another list. Things you don’t want to read if you’re a teacher: The paper said something about a party and then “we both ended up, you know.”

Oh, some words are better left unsaid and unread.


February 17, 2009

Really old

Posted in School Smiles at 5:44 pm by livethelifeyoudream



I have the ears of a 24 year old.

I kid you not.

Even though I am 30+ my ears seem to have maintained their youthfulness.

Today during seminar—kind of like a study period—a student was playing this high pitched sound from his IPod.

If there is one three things that I just can’t stand it is tapping on the desk during quiet periods, sniffing your nose instead of just getting a tissue, and high pitched noises.

I looked over at him and told him to stop, all the while giving him my firm teacher look.

“Wow, you’re not supposed to be able to hear that.”

I’m not sure why. The class is quiet. The sound is loud.

“Mrs. So-and-so can’t hear it. Mr. Math teacher can’t hear it. When you are over thirty and you get to be really old.”

 Seriously, he said really old and over thirty in the same sentence.

“Your hearing breaks down. You have really good ears. “

Two other students turned around and asked if I was really over thirty.

I shook my head yes and continued with what I was doing.

“Wow, we thought you were 24.”

I smile today, not because my students think of me as young, but because I have learned over the years that there really is a difference between growing up and growing old.

I’m thankful that I am not 24 and the trials and hardships that I have had to endure triumphantly overcome have helped me become who I am today. But I’ll save those stories for another blog entry.