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Musical Philosophical Nightmare

It was a couple of weeks ago, when sleeping in the throws of a mild fever, i had one of those fantastic fever-induced surreal dream/nightmares.  Now before i continue, if for no reason other than to set my mother aflight with worry, i should add that it was mild, and nothign serious, in fact i enjoyed it quite the lot.

I remember when i was a kid my particular dreams in this state involved inflation of body parts or things in my room.  A general change of size thigns.  And it wasn’t nightmarish in the Freddy Krueger sense of the word either (i can recall two nightmares in my entire life, and one of them was rather psychological more than anything else), so i’m not even sure if this one shoudl qualify as a ‘nightmare’ per se.  But it does make for a nice post-title.

The fantastic thing about this fever-induced dream was that i was a musical! That’s right, not musical (as in the adjective), but also A MUSICAL (as in the noun, as in South Pacific, or Moulin Rouge).  What was even more fantastic was the fact that it was a musical about the Philosophy of Physics.  And what was even more fantastic was that it was complete!  So here is the summary:

I had a fever induced nightmare which consisted of a Musical about the Philosophy of Physics.  And it was in three acts! The first and final act were in the classroom with my students, and the middle act was in the Teachers’ Lounge. Honestly, if i could have more nightmares of that nature, i would not mind it one bit.  I was so totally awestruck when i woke up in the morning.

And why was it a nightmare, you ask?  Because not only where none of the students were actually paying attention (that’s pretty normal for my students), but i also kept missing the High C!!!!

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Despite my natural tendency to exagerrate thigns for the sake of good storytelling, i promise you that this story is completely true, and without exagerration!

One of the thingsi have enjoyed greatly this year and which has been a very pleasant surprise, has been the ambiance at my school with the other professeurs and the general solidarity among the "Equipe Pedagogique". 

I suppose it is partly due to the fact that our school is considered one which has quite a bit of discipline issues, by virtue of the fact that it is also a professiona high school, and that it is in one of the parisian suburbs with a fairly noticeable portion of north african immigrant families.  Naturally when in such a situation, the teachers have to be more together, and as a result there is a really palpable sense of comaraderie between the teachers.  This does not mean that we do not criticise each other, but rather when we do we understand that it is constructive, and besides that there is a lot of joking around going on and whatnot. 

This is in opposition to many parisian, old, bourgeois type schools, where there is a veyr wooden atmosphere even amongst the teaching corp.  Anyways, so over the year i’ve gotten to know some colleagues more than others, for example the math and techonology teachers, simply because their subject is closer to my physics. 

So sometime ago, during class i asked one of my students, a girl we’ll call "J" to stay after class.  She is someone who has caused A LOT of problems for most teachers, and for the school in general, for various reasons.  With me we have developed somewhat of an understanding.   However,this particular day she had been talkign a lot durign class, and i asked to stay.  I had a relatively long talk with her, and though i was not rude or anythign, i made it understood that this type of behaviour will no longer be tolerated, etc.  She left 5 minutes after.  

when i went to the teacher’s lounger after my next class, i found Mr. X, the tech. teacher who asked me over.  Now, he is a guy in his mid 30′s i imagine, and usually nice but a bit … weird.  He said, in a bit of an annoyed voice, "J was late for my class, was it because of you? She told me you had held her back".  I responded by saying, yes it was me, and went to explain taht it was because she was causing trouble, and i wanted to make her understand that it would no longer be tolerated.

Hearing that, he said "oh ok. well in that case. it’s fine. good."  He paused and i assumd he had finished, when suddenly he continued. 

"You know it was good what you did.  Cuz these students they’re like the Borg.  You know, in star trek.  As soon as the first transports onto your ship, you have to act quickly and get rid of it, otherwise they’ll take over really quickly"

Then he simply went back to marking his papers!

[tags]star trek, the next generation, borg, riker, stories, anecdotes, funny, humourous[/tags]

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Being a new teacher, means that each day is unpredictable and filled with adventures and mishaps.  Some are worth telling, in order to make you laugh and for example in the following case, make you laugh AND preventing you from making the same mistake.  And so we start this new series on Loopy's Manifold.

As you may have guessed, I have decide to simply steal the method of naming this episodes, from THE FUNNIEST SHOW ON TELEVISION … that's right, i'm talking about SCRUBS; and so we're off.

I have now managed to get two hours of class behind me, (that totals to 8 hours, since i have 4 classes i'm in charge of).  In order to set the tone, and get the message across that they will have to work hard thsi year, i decided to give my students a small bit of revision homework on the stuff they'd learned last year, at the end of the very first session of the year.

The exercise comprised of basic questions on electricity and some questions on heterogeneous/homogeneous mixtures (and no, i'm not talking about homogenous, in the sense that "what goes homogeneous mean? A really really bright gay guy.  No that's not what we're talking about here).  Anyways, one of the questions was to give three examples of a homogeneous mixture in daily life, and 3 examples of a heterogenous one.

The next class, we took the questions up in class.  When we reached the mixture questions, i asked, so who can give me an exampel of a homogeneous mixture.  Several students put their hands up and answered.  Finally one of them suggested "vinegar".  I said yes.  However another of the kids challenged this, saying that vinegar is not a mixture.  

Naturally i said, that's not true, it is a mixture.  Here was waht i actually said:

non, c'est vrai.  Vinaigre est un melange.  Il y a de l'eau, du vinaigre, des mineraux et parfois du preservatif.

Unfortunately, like being in a car wreck, even as i spoke this i knew i'd make a mistake.  My notion was proved with sudden stunned silence accompanied by widening of 30 pairs of 14 year old eyes, followed by barely suppressed giggling and sniggering.

The problem was that, even as i was saying it, i remember that the word "preservatif" in french, does NOT translate to "preservative" in english…

… But rather, it means Condom.  

So in fact what i had just told my students that vinegar usually contains water, vinegar, minerals, and sometimes Condoms.  

Naturally no one was in the proper to state to point out to me that if that was the case, i would Doubly wrong, since then our mixture would no longer be Homogeneous!

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  • Filed under: School Stories
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    • Alright, alright. If it'll make you happy I'll overthrow society. -- Fry

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    Germans are flummoxed by humor, the Swiss have no concept of fun, the Spanish think there is nothing at all ridiculous about eating dinner at midnight, and the Italians should never, ever have been let in on the invention of the motor car. - - - Bill Bryson



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