Thursday, October 22, 2009

Just Call Me Mrs. Dictionary

Two more amusing school stories to make you jealous that you don't spend your days with 15 year-olds.

Two weeks ago we were reading out loud in class and the word "bosom" was in the text. I don't even remember what the context was, but it wasn't an inappropriate focus at all. A boy in the front row (nice kid, outgoing, answers questions, gets along well with everyone, overall a great kid) asks, "What is 'bosom'? That's twice this week I've seen that word."

Several others laugh and call out, "You really don't know what that is?"

I turn to him and look thoughtfully for a second, evaluating if he's serious or just trying to be a punk. I decide that he really is serious, so, after a short pause, I put on a serious face and say in a monotone, "Breasts. Boobs. Mammary Glands."

Someone exclaims from the back, "Hooters!"

"Inappropraite!" I retort back and focus on getting us off this subject and on to something that matters.

Story number two. Today I was talking about growing up on a farm, and after I commented that we had cattle, one student asks, "Did you have to casterate them?"

"I didn't but my brothers did."

Groans go up across the room from many of the guys. Then the same kid from the "bosom" story asks, "What's casterate?"

Again, I pause, wondering just how to answer. "Well," I begin, "It's when you cut off a certain part of a bull that they won't be needing..."

But before I can finish the new kid (sophmore who has to retake this semester of English 9) tosses aside the emo/skater kid hair that covers half his eye, looks over at the questioner, and says, "It's when they cut the balls off."

"Well, that would be one way to put it, yes," I answer, turning back to the board to get us on track again. Someone needs to buy that kid a dictionary.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Funny school moments

For those of you who I don't see on a regular basis, here are a few school related laughs for you.

1. In my freshmen class, we were talking about the meaning of the word "angst". I commented that I like to use that word on my Facebook or blog. Instantly I was bombarded with "I'm going to request you as a friend," which led to a conversation about the myriad of reasons that I will not accept their friend requests.

"What if I have my parents friend request you?" one student calls from the back.

"I don't usually do students' parents either," I replied...and .5 seconds later realized akwardness of my response. "Do" students parents? Did I really just say that in a room of 26 freshmen? Laughter all around as I tell them to get their minds out of the gutters. A shining moment.

2. We are working on writing comparison/contrast essays (which I think may have been a part of one of Dante's' levels of hell). I'm trying to drive home the idea that their essays need to have a point. I don't want to read a list of similarities and difference just written in paragraph form. As an example, I say "Joe is comparing football and baseball. I don't just want him to list a bunch of random things like they both need balls to score..." Let's just say that you can't say something like that in front of freshmen boys and not expect a response.

A new semester has begun. Let's see if I can do a better job of keeping my students' minds out of the gutter. I'm not holding my breath.

I should've listened to them...

I made the my final trip to see Scott in Oklahoma City last weekend. Only five more weeks until he's back in Omaha for good...not that I'm counting or anything.

Highlights of the weekend included the following:
  • eating a bavarian-creme filled Dunkin' Donut
  • getting measured for a road bike (Sandy is persuading me to enter the dark side)
  • watching college football in a sports bar downtown (even if we were, by total accident, wearing Texas orange on a day they played Oklahoma)
  • visiting the Oklahoma City bombing memorial (sobering...a very tastefully, well-done memorial)
  • and, of course, just getting to spend time with the love of my life :)

I also enjoyed several good audio books on the drive. The Last Lecture is a 4.5 hour reminder to fulfill your childhood dreams and keep sight of what really matters because you never know when life will be cut short. Keep a box of tissues handy.

Living the Uncommon Life (or something very close to that) was the other audio book of choice. This Max Lucado book had me so absorbed in thought about what I want my life to be that I was 45 miles east of Salina before I realized that I should be 45 miles north of Salina at that time! Who knew that not one but two four-lane divided highways/interstates ran through Salina. Not this girl!

Now if you know me at all, you know that I am somewhat notorious for not being able to follow directions well (I'm the only Koehler without an internal compass) and for getting lost. On our first trip to meet up in Wichita, for example, I was so lost that I almost cried on the phone as Scott tried to navigate me to the hotel. That particular trip, a coworker had offered me her GPS, to which I foolishly responded, "Thanks, but I'll be fine. I've got MapQuest directions. It's Wichita. It can't be that hard." Famous last words. Scott also saved me, via phone from Texas, from getting on the wrong Interstate coming east out of Denver.

This trip, on Sunday, as we parted ways, Scott offered the atlas to me. Confidently I replied, "No, I'm fine. I just go north from Wichita until I-80." Which is true, if one stays on I-35 through Wichita. I, though, was so deep in thought about the direction of my life, that I neglected to see the signs indicating multiple interstates converging, and, as luck would have it, got on the wrong one.

So there I was, in central Kansas without a map or GPS, desperately not wanting to go any further out of the way than necessary because the drive back from a trip always seems to take infinately longer than the drive there. Luckily, my good friend Stacey answered her phone at work and naviagted me north through Manhattan and some less-often-seen areas of eastern Kansas. Perhaps next time I should listen to those wise advice-giving people in my life...and perhaps now I should add "road atlas" to my Christmas list.