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Entertain me! [Oct. 2nd, 2007|11:47 am]
[Current Mood |curiouscurious]

I was up late last night, working until 1am or so. I flopped into bed next to a sleeping weasel, and was almost out when I heard a man's voice, a deep voice of radio-like quality, talking. I could barely hear it, that "edge of the senses" hearing where you can't be sure. I lifted my head to avail myself of two ears, and heard nothing. Laid back down and a few moments later heard it again. Lifted my head again.


I actually got out of bed to make sure no one had left a TV on, then climbed back in in silence.

Laid down. Heard voice.

I began questioning my sanity, but it stopped and I fell asleep.

Shortly before 7 it woke me up again. Same routine.

You will be relieved, dear readers, to know that I am not cracked. The mystery was solved when I took a tray of fresh apple crisp to our next door neighbors and heard that voice coming through the open window. R's son is here visiting from his job in the Middle East, and the reason I hadn't understood anything my resonate mystery voice said was that he was not speaking English.

I told you that story so I could tell you this story. While I was lying in the dark wondering about my continuing grip on reality, my mind drifted back to junior high school and the dumbest thing a teacher ever said to me. I was in Science, looking at a poster map of the moon, two flat circles, the light side and the dark side. The locations of the lunar landings were marked on it and I noticed that they all clustered around the center of the equator of the light side. The teacher walked by at that moment and I asked her, "Why do you suppose all the lunar landings have been here in the middle?"

She studied the map for a moment and said, in all seriousness, "Maybe they were afraid that if they got too close to the edge they'd miss it."

And then she walked away as I nodded. It was so dumb I actually had to stand there and process it. I really felt like I had half a heartbeat of enlightenment followed by, Wait a minute...!

So, what's the dumbest thing a teacher ever said to you?

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[User Picture]From: dougals
2007-10-02 04:19 pm (UTC)
I once had a science teacher (who was also a shop teacher, go figure) who want3ed every one of his students to take part in that year's science fair. When he asked me what i was working on, I gave a complete technobabble explanation of how I was working on something I had found in a book that had revolutionary engery production and propulsion possibilities. In short, I described (as best I could or could make up) the apaprent development of warp drive (complete with illustrations from the old Franz Josephs tech manual).

The shop/science teacher's response?

"Sounds cool. I look forward to seeing it."
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-10-02 04:22 pm (UTC)
I'm sure he (and many others) would have been quite thrilled if you'd finished the project.

What did you present?
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[User Picture]From: gypsydove
2007-10-02 04:20 pm (UTC)
really it wasn't to me.. but...

when my son was in the first grade, they were studying about Columbus (having Columbus Day coming up)... she told the class that Columbus was the first European to set foot in America. Well Iz man (in his most innocent way) told the teacher she was wrong. Leif Erickson was the one of the first Eurpoeans to set foot in the New World. Needless to say, this caused a ruckus.. the teacher then said "No I am sure Columbus was, Erikson didn't come unitl 1642...way after Columbus.."

So the next day, Iz man went to school with History books proving he was right.. and he did this all by himself.. we had nothing to do with it..

When I was in Jr High.. my history teacher was talking about the Revolutionary War.. she of course told the American side of the story.. me being part English, and part American knew both sides to the story and told her and the class the English side of things.. well She didn't say anything, but she did send me out of the class, and refused to let me come back until my parents went to the Principal about it.. grin..

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-10-02 04:25 pm (UTC)
What, she thought Leif Erikson was a pilgrim?! That's hysterical.

And you know, I'm not sure I've ever heard the English side of the Revolutionary War....
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[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2007-10-02 04:25 pm (UTC)
I went to a private high school run by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. My religion teacher told me that the phrase "an eye for eye, a tooth for a tooth" did not appear anywhere in the Bible.

Even after I brought in the biblical passages, he still wouldn't budge.
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[User Picture]From: 28bytes
2007-10-02 04:27 pm (UTC)
I had a history teacher in high school who knew nothing about history. He had lecture notes he would read us, but it was clear he didn't write them himself. They were often in the wrong order.

One day, he told us about a battle in which Shawnee warrior Tecumseh was killed. He then turned the page, and began telling us about the next battle, in which Tecumseh and his men were continuing to fight.

I raised my hand. "I thought you just said Tecumseh got killed in the last battle." He thought for a minute, studied the page he was on, flipped back to the previous page, studied it for a minute, thought some more, and replied, "It was a different Tecumseh." He then resumed his lecture.
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[User Picture]From: kmg_365
2007-10-02 04:29 pm (UTC)
I'd give the teacher kudos if his response was, "This is the zombie Tecumseh, and he had an unquenching hunger for brains."
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[User Picture]From: kathrynrose
2007-10-02 04:31 pm (UTC)
I had a history teacher in High School who told me there would be no women in heaven, and he could prove it in the Bible. So I handed him my Bible. (Yes, I was a Jesus freak in high school.) He turned to some passage in Revelations that said there were x minutes of silence in heaven. Then he closed the Bible and said, "Proof." I told him if that was the case he wouldn't be there either.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-10-02 08:01 pm (UTC)
What a jackass.
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[User Picture]From: roniliquidity
2007-10-02 04:36 pm (UTC)
It's not actually education related, but my second grade teacher told us that Santa was a tool of Satan because he took the holiday away from Jesus.

Then my third grade teacher told us when we die and go to heaven we won't remember anything about our lives on Earth. I asked her if that meant our parents won't recognize us and she said yes. That prompted a lot of crying around the room.

Strangely, my parents didn't pull me out of that private Baptist school until 5th grade.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-10-02 08:04 pm (UTC)
Santa is an anagram of Satan, you know! And look at the parallel between St. Nick and Old Nick!!!


People like that piss me off.
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[User Picture]From: mightydoll
2007-10-02 04:44 pm (UTC)
OAC History teacher (OAC=Ontario Academic Credits aka gd. 13 - university preparation courses - they're not offered anymore): London was the first city ever and was commissioned as a city by the king in (some year that I forget)

Me: The first city ever?

Her: Yes

Me (who knows enough by gd. 13 just to take notes and not argue with the teacher) ok, which king was that?

Her: (blankly) What?

Me: Which king?

Her: The king of England.

Me: so what you're telling me is that this won't be on the test.

Her: Well, no.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-10-02 08:06 pm (UTC)
Wow. That's WAY high on teh stoopid. You may be the winner.
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[User Picture]From: enderfem
2007-10-02 04:48 pm (UTC)
It was a delightfully awful well-known fact in my high school that the faculty sponsor of the Scholarsbowl team (Quiz Bowl, academic tournament, whatever) was not the brightest crayon in the box. She was, at times, unbelievably stupid. I didn't have as many amusing interactions with her as some of my other friends on the team, but I'll never forget one of the times we were doing practice rounds before school:

Teacher: What African country .....(I can't remember the exact question, and it isn't relevant)

Students: *silence*

Me, eventually just naming an African country: Uganda?

Teacher, with a patronizing tone: No, (enderfem), I said an AFRICAN country.

She moved on, but I sat staring and spluttering "but...but...." til my best friend patted me sympathetically and told me it wasn't worth it.

To this day I have no idea where she thinks Uganda is.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-10-02 08:07 pm (UTC)
They have no maps! That's why they can't find America!!!
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[User Picture]From: kisekinotenshi
2007-10-02 04:49 pm (UTC)
I don't know if it was the dumbest, but one of the most ridiculous things I remember a teacher telling me was on the last day of the school year, the first and last year I attended a public middle school. I was the favorite object of ridicule of pretty much everyone who knew I existed (at least that's how I remember it, we all know how memory plays tricks on us) and these boys were saying some really hurtful things to me, so I asked a nearby teacher to tell them to stop. Not to punish them, just to tell them off. She told me she couldn't do anything because it was the last day of school and thus she couldn't give them ISS (In School Suspension). *Facepalm*
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[User Picture]From: theinfamousmom
2007-10-02 06:00 pm (UTC)
Not quite true. I was a bad kid who Oh my gosh TALKED in class.

And I am, and remain, to my knowledge, the only kid who ever had to stay after school on the very last day.
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[User Picture]From: practicallyfame
2007-10-02 04:52 pm (UTC)
At one of my old colleges, I had a Humanities class that had a unit about Philosophy. We had to read one of Plato's dialogues, and I was chosen to lead the discussion in class about it. This was a required class for all majors, however, I happened to be a PoliSci/Philosophy double major. So this was pretty much my favourite thing in the world ("what is piety?").

I brought in supplemental materials, and led the class in a very Socratic fashion, asking questions, countering every answer with a question, and being very... well... non-substantial, but infinitely more interactive and interesting than any of the previous discussion leaders. The students loved it, we had a great time discussing Socratic philosophy through the use of it.

Afterwards the professor kept me after class. I expected congratulations for my success in getting these non-philosophy-majors interested in the subject. What I got from her was "that was very poorly done, you obviously took no time to bother to learn the material, and your dependence on the other students' answers to your questions made it obvious that you didn't bother to answer those questions for yourself. It's not fair to make the other students do the work."

My tactful response was "I was attempting to help them understand philosophy, by using the Socratic Method of questioning."

Her response?
"Philosophy has nothing to do with questions".
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[User Picture]From: clodia_risa
2007-10-02 05:00 pm (UTC)
I have facepalmed myself into next week. How did you not drop that course immediately?
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[User Picture]From: vrax
2007-10-02 04:53 pm (UTC)
Dumbest ever - "You can't learn without doing homework!".

She retired after dealing with me for that year.
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[User Picture]From: ravenofdreams
2007-10-02 06:09 pm (UTC)
I got one of those once. My response - I was a smart-ass sixth grader who'd just done Quite Well on the SAT's - "Oh? My test scores say otherwise."
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[User Picture]From: rev_tobias
2007-10-02 04:55 pm (UTC)
Not a stupid thing, but funny nevertheless: we had a chemistry teacher who was quite cool. One day, while he was mixing up some vile concoction to demonstrate I-don't-remember-what, a girl (who wasn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier) asked him - and we never found out what prompted her to ask - "can you drink that"? Whereupon said teacher, who had a rather dry humour, told her: "Sure. You can drink anything. The only question is: how often?"

Oh, and because I'm a dick, I have to point out that there is no dark side of the moon. Only a far side. :-p
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[User Picture]From: hyrkanian
2007-10-02 05:06 pm (UTC)
I remember quite well the dumbest thing a teacher ever said to me...

My senior year of high school, I needed one last English class to graduate. I was thrilled when I saw that there was a class on science fiction offered! I signed up but the teacher was, shall we say, um... how to say it nicely? "Space cadet" comes to mind except that would probably be too nice.


The first short story we were assigned was "Helen O'Loy" by Lester del Rey. To start off the class discussion, the teacher wrote this word on the board:


She then proceeded to tell us that this was the term in science fiction stories for a creature or character that was part human and part robot. I sat there staring at the word, then staring at her, for almost five minutes I think. I couldn't believe she could be so stupid. I raised my hand and said, "This word, skyvorg... do you mean cyborg? As in, short for cybernetic organism?" She looked quite miffed and said something like, "Don't be silly, there's no such word as cyborg. Helen O'Loy is a skyvorg."

Yeah, it was a long painful semester.
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[User Picture]From: clodia_risa
2007-10-02 06:08 pm (UTC)
I had a high school history teacher who spelled marriage as "mirage". He was a coach, no surprise. But your stories beats that hands down.
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[User Picture]From: rain_herself
2007-10-02 05:13 pm (UTC)
After day one of Geometry in high school, and the little rundown about points and lines and planes, I asked the teacher, "All three of those are theoretical, right?" and he said yes.
"And all the other stuff we're going to learn is based on those?" "Yes."
"So you don't even know if any of this is true?"
"Well, you just have to have faith. Like God."
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[User Picture]From: kellirose1313
2007-10-02 05:47 pm (UTC)
Not necessarily dumb but hella inappropriate. I had a report in Psychology class due in 10th grade. The whole class had gone to the school library to research. My report was on serial killers vs. mass murders (people over time vs. taking out a whole building at once). However I could not find the news articles I was looking for. One of my favorite teachers was in the library so I asked him for help. He showed me where they were hiding and then grinned and told me "I wouldn't be surprised at all to find articles about you in there one day". He walked away before I could smart-ass ask for being serial or snapping one day. Once it sunk in my brain I was like "Damn, who says to a student I expect you to kill lots of people in the future"
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-10-02 08:27 pm (UTC)
Duuuude. That's messed up.
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[User Picture]From: roninspoon
2007-10-02 05:54 pm (UTC)
"Calculus is a tool that you will need when you enter the adult world."
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-10-02 08:27 pm (UTC)
That's just propaganda.
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[User Picture]From: mishamish
2007-10-02 06:05 pm (UTC)
That an airfoil creates lift by creating HIGH pressure on top of the wing and LOW pressure on the bottom.

He persisted in this explanation after each of the following occurences: 1) I first asked him to clarify, 2 ) I asked if he was mistaken, 3) I told him he was flat out wrong, 4) I explained WHY he was wrong (over rising protests from my classmates), and 5) I called him an idiot outright.
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[User Picture]From: theinfamousmom
2007-10-02 06:06 pm (UTC)
I was in an upper-level German class in college. Our Hitlerjugend-wannabe prof assigned us to read a fairy tale, followed by a commentary on the fairy tale. Then we were supposed to write a commentary on the commentary.

So I sat down, and wrote, in flawless German, an essay saying, basically, "Why do we always have to dissect everything to death? Why can't we just for pity's sake read a fairy tale as a fairy tale and enjoy it for its own sake?"

He gave me a D on the paper and wrote on it "Prize question: What are you doing in college?"

I went in and confronted him about that. Apparently, no one had ever dared do that before (he was a pretty damn intimidating guy and you really could picture him in a brown shirt). I said "I'm in college to help teachers like you learn that your way isn't the only way."

I figured I'd get tossed out of class macht schnell, but instead, he changed my grade on the paper to a B. I guess sometimes it pays to be brave.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-10-02 08:30 pm (UTC)
Good for you!
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[User Picture]From: emmycantbemeeko
2007-10-02 06:20 pm (UTC)
I had a (tenured, PhD-ed) professor in a 4000 level anthropology class tell us in lecture, on the overhead notes, as part of the material on which we might be tested, that all the prehistoric monoliths of Europe are located on top of "energy vortexes" and that she herself had located an identical energy vortex in her own backyard, using a dowsing rod.

It was far from the only (but definitely the grossest) violation of secular teaching standards I encountered in three long, depressing years of public university liberal arts studies.
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From: bonerici
2007-10-02 06:26 pm (UTC)
polar orbits take more energy than equator orbits because when we launch, we use the earth's rotation to help throw the satellite into orbit, you need to burn fuel to do an inclination change, it's not an insignificant amount.

In retrospect, maybe it would have been worth it giving up 2 Apollo missions around the moon's equator in return for 1 polar mission, but back then of course just getting to the moon was such an achievement.
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[User Picture]From: merle_
2007-10-02 06:37 pm (UTC)
First grade. In the math period, I had the amazingly challenging problem of "4-6=?". I filled in -2, of course. The teacher claimed I was wrong: there was no way to subtract six from four, so the correct answer was that there was no answer.

That was around the point where I decided "most teachers devolve to a level of knowledge equal, or just one grade level over, what they teach".
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[User Picture]From: forestfire
2007-10-02 06:57 pm (UTC)
I got my first school punishment for insisting that negative numbers existed in first grade. You'd think if she just didn't want me confusing other students she could have told me that privately.
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[User Picture]From: ronin_kakuhito
2007-10-02 06:40 pm (UTC)
I went to a Catholic High School back when. Very little stupid religious crap, and the one guy who did, I can't remember any specific thing he said. (We had, for a year or two, an ex-fundamentalist evangelical protestant as our religion teacher, and though he was now Catholic, it really hadn't taken.)

The only one that sticks out in my mind was from my senior English teacher. One of my best friends and I were hanging out after school when she came and confronted us. She told us that she had just seen our SAT scores and was very disappointed with how we were doing in her class. (We both did considerably better than a 700 on the English section, and both ended up with the national merit scholarship. I think we probably had low B's in her class.) The year was almost over, and it was after school, so I (mostly politely) told her off. I pointed out that to graduate and get our full ride scholarships we needed to get a D or better in her class, and to get the honors diploma we needed a C. We were doing at least C work in her class, mostly by skipping all of the material that wasn't actually useful in a senior English class, like the spelling tests (which were spelling and usage. I think I had a consistent 50% on them. I wrote in badly wrong spellings in the spelling section, but used all of the words right (and spelled them correctly on the usage section. I'm glad I wasn't one of my teachers.)

Hee, my class was did bad things to that woman. When she was teaching Shakespeare, it was painfully obvious that all she knew about the man was from the front blurb of the Penguin Classics editions of his plays. There was a group of 5-7 of us who started making up interesting factoids about him. None of which had any basis in truth. Last I heard, she was teaching them the year she retired.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-10-02 08:37 pm (UTC)
You are evil. Brilliant, but evil.
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[User Picture]From: rhapsody_98
2007-10-02 07:44 pm (UTC)
I was lucky enough to have intelligent teachers, save for one in seventh grade who insisted that the Union named their battles after rivers and the Confederacy named their battles after cities (it's the opposite).

But when I was in college, I arranged to have my wisdom teeth out, and it was going to be the week after spring break (because my doctor was an idiot, and couldn't fit me in.). I told all my professors each Monday for a month. "I will be gone these days. I am having my wisdom teeth out." So, when I go in on the Monday after spring break, I remind the space cadet Brit Lit teacher, "I am going to have my teeth out on Wednesday. I will not be here."

I missed Wednesday and Friday, and when I came back Monday, he asked "Where were you?" like I knew he would. The guy sitting next to me did a face palm, when I said "I talked the college into giving me a second spring break, but it was like pulling teeth."

The prof just said "Oh. Okay." and wondered off.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-10-02 08:45 pm (UTC)


Great comment!!!

Reminds me of another Monday morning in my senior year. The English teacher was calling role and she called Mike Telfer's name. There was a stunned silence in the room. She looked up and said, "Oh, my god, Telfer hasn't missed a day of school in his life! Did he die or something?"

It was a couple moments before someone strangled out, "Yes, Mrs. Burton, he did."

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[User Picture]From: karafaerie
2007-10-02 07:56 pm (UTC)
First day of college, Freshman Biology, we had to go around and introduce ourselves, and give one "interesting" fact about ourselves, as a way for our professor and TAs to get to know us.

On her turn, the VERY obviously female hallmate i was sitting with indicated that her interesting fact was that she had a twin brother and pointed to him across the room (her brother had about 4 inches and 100 lbs on her).

The TA nearest us goes, "Oh how cool, twins! Are you two identical?"


We didn't have much faith in the Biology department after that point, but it did make for a good chuckle.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-10-02 08:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I wouldn't either. Yeesh!
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