Today, I'm linking up with a fellow blogger, and the topic is "Your Most Embarrassing Moment." Now, if you're anything like me, your first thought was: Which one? The older we get, the more we can add experiences to the category of Oh My God, How Embarrassing. So, I muddled for awhile. I could write about the time when, meeting my future mother-in-law for only the second or third time, I gracefully plummeted through her glass coffee table (which she claimed she didn't like, but really she LOVED) sending shards of glass all over the living room. Or, I could revisit the time my son shit on the playground at daycare, but I just discussed that not too long ago. There are a number of mommy-related or pregnancy-related moments I could share, but I thought to myself, "I haven't really shared any stories about my teaching (given that it is July and I'm trying to pretend that I don't have a job right now but am really independently wealthy)." So, a teaching story it is!
Now, I'd like to preface my story with this: I love teaching, and I like to have fun with my students. (Somewhere, hundreds of students are shocked to hear this. Wait, she likes to have fun with us? I didn't know she was capable of having fun!) Now, I have to be careful with how much fun and the type of fun I have with my students (you know, lawsuits and crap). For instance, my freshman rarely see the "fun" side of me. Why? Because one minor joke turns into 55 minutes of me trying to refocus them and their out-of-control hormones. I probably have less fun with my sophomores than anyone. Why? Because somewhere between freshman and sophomore year, students make a pact with the devil. They come back to school thinking they are sneaky, sly, and smart (oh, look, alliteration!). Funny thing is, they're none of these things. So, not only do I have to deal with their romance drama, but now they know everything there is to know and they're not afraid to share it (at inappropriate and inconvenient times, too). Needless to say, I don't have a lot of fun with my sophomores because I'm too busy perfecting my death glare.
This past school year, I was lucky enough to have seniors. And, by lucky I mean I didn't have to deal with a lot of the issues that come with underclassmen, but (believe me) they came with their own unique challenges. The senior class I taught was Calculus. So, here we have a small group of hard working, intelligent students, who are choosing to take a challenging class. So far so good. In addition to that, I had most of these students at one time or another so they were what I fondly refer to as "well-trained." They knew what I expected, what I tolerated, and what I absolutely wouldn't put up with, so I didn't have to put them through 12 weeks of How to Behave in My Classroom and Don't Think for a Second that I Didn't Try that Shit, Too boot camp. Alas, I digress. Point is: I had a lot of fun with my seniors because I didn't have to break them down.
Part of the reason we were able to have fun in that class was because they knew if they got out of line, I could give them the most difficult test they had ever seen, thereby ruining their almost perfect grade point averages. A little something I like to call leverage. Plus, they're slightly more mature than the rest of my students (emphasis on slightly). Warning: Everything I'm about to say is going to contradict my previous statement.
So, when we weren't finding the second derivative of trig functions, finding f-double-prime and setting it equal to 0 before solving for x, or integrating by parts (confused yet? Me too! This is why I have my principal do my evaluations in my Calc class. He has no clue what I'm talking about!) we were having fun. (I had the most fun because my gpa was not at stake!) In an effort to amuse themselves, my students would do silly things like make up a dance routine when I was out in the hallway and then surprise me with it when I returned. Or, someone would always hide under my desk before class started, and I would forget and be shocked. (I had to finally tell them that they had to make sure I wasn't wearing a skirt on a desk-hiding day) I even offered to let them do the Thriller dance for their final exam, provided they all learned the moves, but they declined. (And, you're sitting there shaking your head thinking, "She gets paid for this? She's teaching our children?" Relax. They learned a lot of stuff, and I gave really hard tests and quizzes to balance out all the fun. Don't worry!)
In an effort to be funny and make everyone laugh, one of my students started this trend where he would wear various items of mine. For instance, I would often find him sitting at his desk, wearing my coat. If I wore a hoodie that day and left it on my chair, he would be wearing it when I came into class. On more than one occasion, he would come out into the hallway wearing my coat, scarf, hat, mittens, and carrying my purse. All in good fun. Chuckle, chuckle, laugh, laugh.
Now, a lot of embarrassing things happen to teachers. There are all sorts of words and phrases you just can't say because they could totally be taken out of context, so you really have to stay on top of your game. Well, on this particular day, I was not on top of my game. At all.
On this day, said male student came out into the hallway wearing my mittens and my fleece. It was one of those days where funny things weren't so funny, and I was a little exasperated by him. So, with a look of exhaustion, I looked him square in the face, and what did I say?
"Take my clothes off."
Lucky for me, there were many witnesses in the hallway. It got very quiet. Mouths hung down to the floor. Everyone looked at me like, "Wait. Did she really just say that? Did she really just tell him to take her clothes off." Yep. Even though I meant "take off my fleece and my mittens and go study for your damn quiz," that's not at all what came out. Oh, I spent the next few minutes (red-faced of course) trying to justify what I meant and how it just came out wrong, but it would take me months to live that one down. Hey, at least they didn't put it in the yearbook, right? Oh, wait . . .damn!
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