The Joys of Science Teaching or
Be Careful What You Say
There is an old saying “out of the mouths of babes,” which means something that you say when a small child says something that surprises you because it shows an adult’s wisdom and understanding of a situation. Well, I learned my lesson about this the hard way when my 6th period class presented me with a list of things that were said in my classroom, many of them by me. Yes, they were 12th graders about to graduate, but as a “lower level” class that seldom seemed to be paying really close attention, I was taken aback by the list.
I’ll share a few, just those said by me, as follows:
Showing My Age
No tickie, no washie. (ie: no work, no grade)
Shushie. (trying to make them be quiet)
Not Sure I Believe I Said This
The tractor goes meee-rrr….meee-rrr! high pitched (pointing out that the tractor’s velocity is not 100% constant)
Whenever you see a naked number… (one without a unit)
They’ll whip out their Krypton laser… (talking about the ability to measure the unit of the second)
Leeft…Leeft…Leeft Right Leeft… (talking about my marching experience in ROTC in college)
Yeah, I wouldn’t argue politics…especialy if I was as wrong as you are.
How ‘bout you make fun of him when I’m not talking.
The units tell all. (kind of zen like)
That’d be the end of this place. (if they had chemistry classes in the physics rooms)
This guy isn’t tied too tight.
It’s sneaky. (talking about the loss of energy)
The names will be changed to protect the guilty. (something about lab reports)
He’s got me, what can I say. (student answers question correctly unexpectedly)
This is the 6th period class… something shady has to be going on.
Plugging and chugging. (putting numbers into an equation and cranking out the answer)
I might even get to nickels, dimes, and quarters! (after placing pennies on my arm and grabbing them to demonstrate the first law)
If I locked you in the trunk of a car. (a hypothetical question to talk about frames of reference)
So think about it: You’re a pair of underwear…. (talking about centripetal force)
We call this simple demonic motion.
It was in the moment.
The earth is like a giant repository of momentum.
Levin-dog here? Linus-dog? Waldinger-dog? (taking attendence)
You know, Andrew, in the beginning of the year, I wondered what people meant when they said that you were annoying…now I know.
Let’s say I jump out of an airplane without a parachute. (class claps)
You have a fecal imagination. (don’t remember ever saying this)
And The Worst Of All
I remember my first year of teaching, you know, the year where you do everything right. I was using the “happy” and “sad” balls to demonstrate elastic and inelastic collisions. Holding up the two identical looking rubber spheres, I announced, “These are my balls.” I’m only glad that I was not being observed at the time.
Turns out there were a number of innocent comments that could also be taken in a less than innocent fashion that I had not thought about.
Kinda neat, they bounce up and down. (metal spheres on springs)
I stood on the ceiling and blew on the ball. (probably not accurate – talking about a monkey and the hunter demo where I blew into a tube with a ball in it near the ceiling)
Both rods are attracting. (electrostatics)
Don’t stick the ball in! (keeping student from putting tennis ball in cannon)
Wait, let me get out everyone’s favorite toy. (Newton’s cradle)
How can objects be electrified by rubbing?
Rubbing it slow or fast doesn’t matter. (believe I said rubbing the strip)
I like my strings real tight. (talking about my tennis racquet)
I think you guys noticed that you get in pretty deep pretty fast. (comment about how vector problems get complicated easily)
Put a point protector on. (when making a graph)
I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t play with them any more than you have to. (students playing with motion lab cars)
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