The last few days there has been a lot of discussion on Facebook about favorite and least favorite teachers at NPHS. Now I have to talk about some of my students and how they made teaching fun and how they made me laugh. There are so many of them but here is a sampling.
Speech class was a great place for laughing. Many of you will remember playing "pass the yardstick" and some of the hilarious ideas people had for uses of that stick. There were waaaay too many of us who were not willing to give up and could make the game go on for the whole hour! Of course some of that time was used for laughing so hard we couldn't go on.
There was a student who gave a speech on how to use an elk call. I had never seen or heard one like the one he had that day. It looked like a vacuum cleaner hose and the sound was like nothing any of us had ever heard before! We were rolling on the floor laughing when Mr. Collins, the counselor, came into the room with his hands on his head like horns and pawing the ground! That completely brought down the house. The poor boy could not finish his speech!
Then there was the speech about robotic body parts that left us all speechless! One student even drew pictures of Joe Montana with a robotic arm and how it would change football forever as feedback for the speaker.
Another time during a formal debate for a grade, a girl got so mad at the other team that she just stood up and said I quit and walked off the floor! We all just looked at each other and started laughing. One of her opponents told her she couldn't and to go sit back down at her table! And she did! I don't think they got to finish that debate.
Not many will forget the day I had a guest speaker come into my Creative Cooking class to demonstrate flaming baked Alaska. Our guest was the social studies teacher across the hall from my room. He had been a chef in Aspen and Baked Alaska was his specialty. He gave me a list of ingredients he would need and I had them all there along with a very special silver tray I had brought from home for us to put the cake on.
I had invited the principal, special ed class, some of my 8th grade boys who were interested, secretaries, and a few others plus our class to this special event. He sliced the cake and placed it on the silver tray. He sliced the ice cream and placed it on top of the cake. He then whipped the egg whites and made the meringue to spread artistically over the cake. Next came the 181 proof rum to sprinkle over the meringue so we could flame it. He asked me where the stopper top was to sprinkle it. I explained to him that a Home Ec classroom does not contain that type of item. No problem, he had a student hold the tray and told her to tilt it as he sprinkled the rum with his fingers over the top. She tilted it up toward her as he sprinkled and he kept telling her to tilt it the other way.
Finally we were ready to flame it! We turned off all the lights and he lit the match as we all gathered around the table. Whoosh! The whole table caught fire where the sprinkled rum had gone and burned with a beautiful blue flame! The baked Alaska of course was also burning with the lovely blue flame. The whole thing was over in less than a minute and the cake looked perfect. It was exciting while it lasted, though!
It was time to eat it! I handed plates to my students as the chef sliced and plated the dessert. The principal got the first bite. I asked him how it tasted and he just nodded his head so I figured he was overwhelmed with how delicious it was. The kids passed out pieces to everyone as I handed them the plates. Then they started taking them around to their teachers in the classrooms. I still hadn't had a chance to taste it and neither did our guest chef. Finally, as the bell was ringing and everyone was leaving, we had a chance to get our piece of the baked Alaska. Oh my gosh! The cake was totally laced with 181 proof rum that definitely had not burned off! The rum had soaked into the cake when the tray was tilted up instead of down! The kids were loving it and nobody had said a word to us, including the principal and the special ed teachers! The kids said all their teachers were very mellow all afternoon . Note: The social studies teacher's contract was not renewed for the next year and he always maintained (jokingly, I hope) that it was all my fault.
This happened up in Owyhee on the reservation. It was a very different atmosphere at that school. The kids were really into calling their teachers racist every time we turned around. One time I was called a racist because I let a girl go to the restroom and didn't let a boy go. I had to explain the difference between sexist and racist to him! Anyway, I finally just would say sarcastically to the kids when they pulled the racist card that yes I was a racist, that's why I chose to teach there so I could torture them.
Anyway, one day the art teacher and I were in my room after school and a young lady was in there finishing a project. We were all visiting and the girl made a comment about a Mexican family. The art teacher really jumped in and said now YOU are being racist! The girl's reply, "Yes I am racist and damn proud of it!". How do you come up with an answer to that? Especially when it is probably true!
There are many more stories so I guess I'll have to run a series of them. There are a few sad stories too so I might have to reserve a day for some of those.