Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Next President of The United States!

I have this student (let's call her "Marla") who always demands that I give every direction ten times. You can almost count to thirty after any instruction and... ding ...she asks what she's supposed to be doing.

So, today, as a preemptive strike, I start saying, "Okay, everybody open your books to page thirteen. Open the book first. Find page thirteen. That's thirteen. It's made with a one followed by a three. It's not after one or three, though. You'll find it directly opposite page twelve, and should you find yourself on page fourteen, just flip back one and there it will be. By the way, that was thirteen. Oh, and in case you missed it, I asked you to turn to page thirteen." (I was thoroughly enjoying myself, I admit.)

And Marla, of all people, says, "Gosh, why do you have to say it so many times?"

"Because I'll bet there are some people who still haven't turned to page thirteen," I say.

And thirty seconds later, two other guys still haven't grabbed their books, let alone opened them to page thirteen. "You see, Marla?" I say.

And Marla says, "Wait, what are we supposed to be doing?"

My wife Paige is convinced that one of these kids, probably one who earns a C in my class, will someday be our President.

Now, when "Marla" is elected President, you and I will know why the reporters in the press corps keep repeating the same questions over and over, and need to frequently remind the President about what position she holds, what the responsibilities of the job consist of, and that the nation she's leading is spiraling down the toilet.

Unless, that is, you first read in the newspaper about a high school teacher who, in a fit of rage, staples some written instructions directly to a student's forehead.


Alicia B said...

Just go Mr. Ninja on her then!

Phil said...

One of my colleagues emailed the date and time for an exam to a student. The student replied to the email (with the original text of the email contained in her reply) asking "When and where are the test again?"

Phil said...

I mean "When and where is the test again?" I should be more careful when commenting on an English teacher's blog!

Dolewhite said...

To the page 14 shalt thou not turn, neither shalt thou turnest to the page 11, unless thou then proceedest directly to the page 13. 16 is right out.

Anonymous said...

As a TA, I have similar problems with students. After a rather exasperating day, I finally replied, "You should have been listening the first six times I gave the directions." Needless to say, the student did not ask again.

Benjamin Gorman said...

Phil, I'm sure the student made the same error in their email, making you original post correct. Yes, Anonymous TA, sometimes refusing to repeat the directions forces them to get those instructions from another student. At other times they just take it as permission to give up. Sometimes I find another student who isn't paying attention and ask them to share the instructions when the first. When they don;t know either, I open it up to the class and someone shouts at the first two, so that I'm not the only one repeating the directions a hundred times. And yes, Alicia, sometimes I consider some Ninja violence.

Benjamin Gorman said...

I would try the Monty Python riff, but I would be so sad when no one got the reference.