In Cheeseburger and a Coke, Mr. Teacher tells about his frustration with getting students to rhyme words with the short vowel sound “u.” Of course this brought so many memories of conversations that have gone in all different directions that it would have made you want to put on a seat belt to keep from falling out of the chair. After years of experience, I learned not to get frustrated with the direction but to grab an oar and help paddle the boat! Here are some funny (but true) conversations that were heard in my classroom.
Me: Today we will talk about being a dentist and what the job requirements are. We will be having a dentist come in and talk to us this week also.
J: I’ve been to a dentist! They had to pull my tooth
M: They pulled my tooth once.
B: When they pulled my tooth, they had to give me gas.
R: Well, my mama’s beans give me gas!
K: I heard they got a pill that can stop you from having gas but isn’t that like stopping you up?
S: Our sink was stopped up so we had to call a plumber last nite.
Me: Okay, so today we will talk about plumbers and their job requirements. Maybe I can get a plumber in this week…
Me: E., why are you late to class?
E: My bus just got here.
Me: If you were on a late bus, they give you a pass. Where is your pass?
E: I left it in my mama’s car.
Me: Wait! If it is in your mama’s car, how could you have been on a late bus?
E: Cuz it didn’t get here on time.
Me: You know I really get mad if you are lying to me!
E: I’m sorry (he looks at his feet). I shouldn’t have lied. The pass is on my dresser at home.
Another student: Don’t worry Ms. H. I have to work tonight and I’ll look for the pass there!
(The whole class is rolling on the floor laughing!)
Me: Today I want to introduce the book The Scarlet Letter. This is a classic but it is written in comic form.
T: I like comic books. (He flips through the pictures.) Why does she have an A on her?
Me: Because she committed adultery. Do you know what that means?
B: I do! It means she cheated on her man!
S: That’s wrong! If my man cheated on me, I’d hurt him!
T: You hurt him, you going to jail!
S: I don’t care! He better not cheat on me! He was looking at this girl at lunch….
K: What are they having for lunch today?
B: My mama cheated on my daddy with the mailman.
T: I wouldn’t wanna be no mailman and walk to everyone’s house to bring them no letters.
B: You gotta be in good shape to do that.
S: You gotta be on the track team to become a mailman.
Me: Hmmm, what books can I find about mailmen?
I think I saw a game show over the holidays called Chain Reaction where you had to get from Word A to Word B by connecting words. I think my students would be able to win that game. Of course it is really interesting to watch the journey. Sometimes it can be very enlightening and can lead to interesting teaching moments. Other times, it can be just a lot of fun. But most important of all is that as a teacher, we can’t get frustrated by these conversations. We could yell at them to stay focused and on topic, but we would be spinning our wheels, wasting our breath, and lose our students’ respect. Teachers need to be flexible and think quickly on their feet if they want to be successful in the classroom.
So, what interesting conversations could be had in your classroom? How did you handle it?
Original image: 'The Stronghold' http://www.flickr.com/photos/95492938@N00/219852893by: Alan