I taught high school and college Spanish for thirty years. For the most part, I really enjoyed my students. The only way to keep teaching is to love your subject and enjoy the age you teach. And to retire before you lose your mind or hurt someone.
Often my students were funny. One October day when I was teaching in Fort Bend County outside Houston, I noticed one of the guys in class had sweat pouring down his face. His hair was wet with perspiration and he was gasping for breath. Concerned, I leaned over his desk and asked what was going on, was he sick? He said, “Mrs. Perrine, may I go to the restroom. It was cold this morning so I put on my long underwear but it’s really hot now.” What I love about people in the South is they don’t understand they never have a reason to wear long underwear.
Another time I was talking to an upper-level Spanish class about Diego Rivera, the Mexican muralist who paint a controversial mural of Lenin in Rockefeller Center. I asked, “Does anyone know who Lenin was?” One young lady raised her hand, so excited she waved her arm and said, “I know. I know. He was one of the Beatles.”
I always attempt to be polite and not laugh when a student says something funny. I don’t want to hurt their egos but I did chuckle a little–okay, I chortled- when she said that. They are young and she was sort of close.
One student I taught, Billy, could make me laugh any time. There are some students who believe they are funny but usually aren’t. He didn’t try to be funny. He just was. He’d say seriously in a voice filled with concern, “Mrs. Perrine, I have a lot of trouble with irregular preterit tense verbs.” I know that doesn’t sound funny, but I would laugh so hard I nearly fell off my desk.
Do you have a story about something funny that happened in a classroom? I’d love to read it.