Archive for the 'Things kids say' Category


January 20th, 2009

Fortunately for my kids, the TV in my classroom got just enough static-y reception for 1st period to see the oath of office (class ended at 9:06 PST) and for 2nd period to see Obama’s inaugural address (class started at 10:01).   I was a little surprised by how attentive they were, but I probably shouldn’t have been.   However, I still feel moderately justified in my lack of faith, just for other reasons.   And I quote:

During the oath of office:

  • Look!   It’s President Obama!   Wait, what’s he doing?
  • Wait, when is this happening?   Now?   Like, really now?
  • He’s president now?   Like, right now?   Woo hoo!
  • You’re going to be sorry next year when you have to learn about all this.

During the speech:

  • Wait, when did they do the swearing-in thingy?   You mean I missed it?   Did you tape it?   Oh, I see how it is.   [I point out that the oath of office will be all over TV and the internet, and tell the kids to check YouTube.]   What’s YouTube?   [Look of disbelief.]   No, really, what’s YouTube?
  • [Upon being told to go to YouTube and type in "inauguration"]   We have to put that?   In-au-gur-ation?   That’s a hecka big word!
  • Wait, when is this happening?   Now?   Like, right now?   Oh, so that’s why it says “live” on the bottom of the screen.

Apparently, the advent of the TiVo and streaming video has rendered my kids unable to comprehend the notion of “live coverage.”   Well, you learn something new every day.


September 13th, 2008

One of my introductory assignments every year is an anticipation guide to accompany Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Pseudoscience video.   The guide has five statements.   Before watching the video, the students mark the statements as true or false, based on their opinions.   After watching the video, they revisit the statements, marking them as true or false again, and tell why they think so.

One of the statements is “Aliens have come to Earth and abducted people to study them.”   My favorite response this year is from a student who marked true because “they are doing science too.”


February 7th, 2008

Clearly, I am a zombie.

I know this because I have risen from the dead.

I know this because a child told me so. It was pretty much the first thing I heard from a student when I came back to school.

“Were you sick,” he asked, “and that’s why you weren’t here?”

I confirmed the accuracy of his assessment. He nodded sagely, then continued,

“People were saying that you died. Because we’ve never had two subs in a row.”

I’ve been on my death-stool (Santani, I have never forgotten this) for approximately four days now, since Sunday. This has required an (apparently) unprecedented three consecutive days of sick leave. I believe I am the victim of a virus.

Is that a good enough excuse for not posting?

Middle schoolers will say anything

January 10th, 2008

New!   Part 3 added 1/11

Part 1: First thing this morning
I was preparing my board this morning, as usual, when a student came in to drop off his backpack, as usual. I, as usual, said good morning. He, unusually, said, “You sound hecka tired this morning!”

Somewhat taken aback, I replied, “Yeah, I guess I am a little tired.”

He suggested, “You could sleep now. Lock the door and sleep on the table.”

Having more pressing concerns, I didn’t take his advice until my prep, and even then, I only managed half of it. I did go to sleep on the table. . . but I forgot to lock the door. So I woke up when another teacher came by to confer with me about a student. Aren’t I professional? (I might add that this wasn’t a I’ve-got-my-head-on-the-desk nap. I was conked out on one of the tables, using books for a pillow.)

Part 2: Overheard at my door just before 7th period
“You’re like, one of the only kids at this school with hair like that.”

Really? Because I thought you ran into similar hair at every turn.

(Don’t know who we’re talking about? This kid:

goth Rayman head )

Part 3: Before second period
“I’m so tired because I was up all night.   [Assorted reasons, followed by] . . . and my little sister was singing all night long.   ‘B-I-N-G-U, B-I-N-G-U, B-I-N-G-U, and Bingo was his name-o.’   She can’t even spell it!”

Middle school boys

October 12th, 2007

As some of you may not clearly understand the depths of idiocy middle schoolers can sink to, I present an actual conversation from school yesterday. (Guess which class?) Quotes are approximate.

During bell work, a silent warm-up activity allowing me to take roll, check homework, tell off tardy kids, and so forth, student A raises his hand and requests to throw away an empty plastic water bottle. I tell him to wait until he’s on his way out of class. He says okay, and places the empty bottle on the table.

We all go back to work. A bit later, the bottle falls over with a clatter. Student A picks it back up.

A bit later still, the bottle falls over again. Student A picks it up again, and glares at student B, whom he clearly believes responsible for the situation. Student B grins pseudo-innocently. I glare at both students and make a “knock it off” gesture.

And then the bottle falls over again. A strident voice can be heard, shattering the quiet of bell work. It’s student A. “Stop [expletive] knocking over the [expletive] bottle!” Student B grins.

I intervene. To student B: “Leave the bottle alone.” To student A: “Relax. It’s an empty bottle.”

Student A goes back to work. Student B pretends to fiddle aimlessly with a piece of paper lying on the table, which is what he is using to knock over the bottle while remaining safely out of harm’s way. Student A glares. I make more “knock it off” gestures.

And then the bottle falls over again. At this point, student A has had it. He stands up, leans in over the table toward student B, and roars, “I am not [expletive] playing with you! Stop [expletive] knocking over the [expletive] bottle, you [expletive]!” Student B grins. “What are you [expletive] smiling about?” student A demands.

At this opportune moment, student C chimes in. His contribution? “Fight, fight, fight!” I silence him with a glare.

I calm students A and B and manage to get through the remainder of the class without incident. (Student A cleverly moves the bottle off the table onto the floor, where student B eyes it but leaves it alone.) After class, I discuss with student A the inadvisability of using profanity in the classroom, as well as the unlikelihood of student B ceasing to provoke when it’s working so well. I discuss with student B his motives in prolonging this confrontation. It turns out to be simple.

“He was saying stuff about my family,” explains student B.

I discuss with student B more constructive ways to deal with this situation. He agrees that telling me and letting me deal with it might work better in the future.

To quote Dave Barry: I am not making this up.

“She blends in”

March 21st, 2007

While it’s not unusual for me to hear that I look young, it’s been rubbed in rather mercilessly recently.

Occasion 1: The bell just rang to dismiss 7th period. I follow my kids out of the room, intent on performing assigned supervision duty in front of the school. Kid 1 and kid 2 are horsing about, whacking at each other and so forth. Naturally, I intervene. Kids 1 and 2 look about, startled. Really, I think, kids these days. You just came out of my class. Of course I’m right there. All is made clear, however, when kid 3 snickers and says, “See, I told you. She blends in.”

Occasion 2: I go to the dentist. The dental assistant is surprised to hear that I teach middle school, as she thought I, myself, was in high school.

Occasion 3: I go to the optometrist, who, being Japanese herself, is well aware that I (and she) am often mistaken for younger. She tells me I look “all of 17.”

Occasion 4: I get on the bus after school, paying $2.25, as usual. The bus driver asks if I want a transfer and I answer in the affirmative. Rather than a transfer, however, he gives me a daily pass ($5, unlimited rides for the day). This is the second time a bus driver has done this. The first time, I thought it was a mistake, but twice doesn’t make sense. And then I figure it out: students ride for half price.

I’ll be grateful when I’m old, right?

Matt, master bonsai gardener

February 8th, 2007

Once upon a time, a child says to me, randomly (as is the way of children), “Is it true that your husband is a master bonsai gardener?”

Naturally, this baffles me. Thinking, Um, where did this come from?, I say, “No, honey. My husband isn’t even Japanese.” I’ve already mentally moved on to the next thing (it doesn’t do to dwell) when the kid pulls out a piece of paper:

random paper

and points to number 19. “This is why I asked,” he says. And sure enough, number 19 says:

expert Mr. Miyasaki

5th period today. . . right after lunch

December 13th, 2006

[Child appears clutching his stomach.]

Child: I think I ate too much chocolate.

Me: How much chocolate did you eat?

Child: Two Three Muskateers bars. . . my stomach hurts.

Me: Well, that is a lot of chocolate.

Child: Man! My stomach feels like it’s got monkeys in it fighting over bananas!

Me: . . .

Questions kids have

November 30th, 2006

Right after lunch, my 5th period kids file up to my room and get in line. One of my kids, whom, I might add, I’ve never had a meaningful conversation with prior to this, says she has some questions. Okay, shoot, I say. What follows are her questions, and, to the best of my memory, my answers.

Q: When dogs have babies, does size matter? Because we have a Doberman and a Chihuahua, and my mom wants them to have puppies.
A: Well, that’s a good question. I’m not sure. Basically, all dogs can mate. But there might be problems with the mechanics because of the size difference. What I mean is, if you can get the penis into the vagina, they should be able to mate. But the size difference might make that complicated.
Notes: I can’t believe I used the word “mechanics” and then had to explain it. But I figure I’m the science teacher and I’d better be matter-of-fact about this.

Q: But would she, I mean the Chihuahua, be able to have the puppies?
A: Well, I really don’t know. The babies would be a mix; they’d get some characteristics from the mom and some from the dad. So that means they’d probably be bigger than a Chihuahua would normally be. That might make it difficult for her to carry the puppies. The best person to ask about that would probably be a veterinarian.
Notes: I can’t belive we’re continuing to have this conversation. Also, in retrospect, I can’t believe I was so floored by this that I didn’t work in anything about pet overpopulation.

Q: And I have one more question. What’s a atomic bomb?

Okay, so we’ll skip my answer on that one and move straight on to the exposition. You have got to be kidding me! Right after lunch, a child proceeded to ask me, out of nowhere, about Doberman-on-Chihuahua sex, a follow-up question about Doberman-on-Chihuahua sex, and to explain an atomic bomb. Or to summarize slightly less graphically, questions on genetics, genetics, and nuclear chemistry. This randomness essentially sums up the mindset of middle school kids.

Amusing anecdote

September 11th, 2006

An actual transcipt of a conversation I had with two kids today:

I see kid A copying kid B’s homework, so I head over and loom.

Me: What are you doing?

Kid A looks flummoxed.

Kid B: Yeah! I thought you were copying these! [Indicates notes on same page as homework.] You jackass!

Me: Hey, now, watch the name calling!

Kid B claps his hands over his mounth and looks abashed.

Kid A, under his breath: You call me a jackass. . .

I choose to be amused by this because “jackass,” much to the chagrin of my parents, is the epithet of choice for Kevin and me.