Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Stuff My Students Say Part 1

I've been down a bit about the reality that my job isn't as charming as I used to think it. However, I do have good days. One of the joys of teaching is hearing things students say to each other and to me in writing and in conversation. Today I thought I'd post a few gems from this term.

A response to an assignment where students had to read creation stories from different cultures around the world.
Student: "I learned that Japan has always been weird. Uh, I mean… Different. Lots of things just happened. The story I read was probably shortened a lot, so I don't know why a lot of things happened. When you think about it, all creation stories are weird. They try to explain very specific things that really didn't need to be explained. Did I really need an explanation as to why canoes exist? Probably not. They do let you see into other people's cultures, though. Even though most people in those countries are probably just as weirded out by them as we are. From what I have gathered, the members of the Japanese Imperial family are considered to be deities, or at least descendents of deities. Egypt is the same way, the Pharaoh used to be worshipped as a god. Something tells me these stories were written by people who were quite fond of their rulers. Or perhaps the rulers themselves wrote them? Either way, I’m glad we as a species have grown out of these kinds of stories, for the most part anyway."

As you might have read in the previous post, I tried to have a class party where students would wear togas, bring Caesar-themed treats, and have fun in class. My odd day classes inspired that post, but my even day classes seemed to have a better time. Here is a conversation with two students 10 minutes before class ended:

Student 1: So when do we party?
Me: . . . This is the party.
Student 1: Oh. Okay (sheepishly)
Me: I thought having a class debate would be fun and you'd get to talk with your friends and have a good time.
Me: It is supposed to be fun.
Awkward Pause
Me: I hoped it would be fun, but I'm a nerd and like this stuff. Maybe you guys can plan the party next time.
Student 1: Yeah! I'll bring my x-box.
Me: Um, no. Not going to happen. I think true parties are a waste of your academic time. I think it's better when you can do something fun and educational and get treats. That's a class party.
Student 2: Yeah, I get that. It was a pretty fun debate.
Student 1: Yeah. When do we get treats?
Me: I have grapes!
Student 1: Grapes?
Me: Yeah. You know, Rome, wine, grapes. Julius Caesar. (They nodded politely, but weren't sold on the coolness of the grapes). They are easy to share. Plus I wanted to be conscious of gluten and nut and other allergies. It's hard to find a treat that every one can enjoy.
Student 2: Okay, cool. Good point.
Student 1: They are tasty grapes.
Me: I was hoping you guys would bring something to contribute.
Student 1: I forgot.
Student 2: Yeah.
Me: Next time.

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