Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Schilatypus

In my fourth period class some of my students believe that I can hear everything that's being said in the room. It's not true, although I wish it were. One girl in particular gets really peeved when I comment on what she's saying to her friends or tell her that what she's saying is inappropriate. My ability to hear what's going on has little to do with my ears and a lot to do with the stupidity of high schoolers. When they want to say something private to their neighbor they will often hold up a piece of paper or put their hand in front of their mouth. I've told them many times that hands and paper do very little, if anything, to muffle sound. Yet they still get annoyed when I can hear them.

A few days ago I had given the kids an assignment to work on and I was doing something at my desk. All of a sudden I heard one of the kids say something about crack and something sexual. I immediately said that that was inappropriate and that he needed to stop. As soon as I said that half the class started laughing. Now, if there's one thing I've learned as a teacher it's that it is really bad if everyone is laughing and you have no idea why. It was quickly explained to me that they had made a beat to see how quickly I would stop the conversation and they had started laughing because I had stopped it much sooner than expected. Apparently my ears lived up to their reputation.

Last week I heard another conversation coming from the nether regions of my classroom. All I heard was, "....BYU t-shirt...." and I said, "What did you say about BYU?" I worked my way over to the group of students that I had overheard and they promised that they were behaving. I let them continue what they were doing and a few minutes later they unveiled the Schilatypus. The conversation I had overheard was them discussing if the Schilatypus should wear a BYU t-shirt. The students were pretty pleased with their creation and are hoping to make an entire Schilaty zoo that could include such animals the Schiliger and the Schiloctypus.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This post is as funny as a funny story

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. I thought everyone might enjoy reading them.

Here are last year's winners...

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell twelve stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

21 The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.