Art Linkletter devised the clever moniker, “Kids Say the Darndest Things,” and made a lot of money capturing parent stories of precocious children saying amusing things. If he had asked teachers about things they heard in the classroom, he’d have a wealth of new material to add. We asked teachers to weigh in with some of the interesting things they have heard, interactions in which they have participated, and general missteps from the mouths of teachers.
We share them here to illustrate the messy and humorous days of teachers, and to highlight the very real vulnerability that we ask of ourselves and our students to show in the process of learning. Enjoy!
- A kid once asked me who “Raspucious” was. She had combined Rasputin and Confucious.
- During read aloud time: “Can you just stop talking and read the story already?!”
- From a preschooler: “Why do I need to learn to read when you do it for me?”
- One young man asked me who invented almonds.
- A kid was bravely sleeping during my lecture, and when he woke up, he asked, “What did I miss while I was sleeping?”
- Heard in the hallway:
- “That’s it! I’m writing you up!”
- “For what???”
- “Well that’s dumb! That’s something you give people with diabetes!”
- I was discussing different types of food, and I mentioned that I have eaten (and enjoyed!) rabbit. “Dang, Mr. Butler. Why you eat nature!?!?”
- Overheard in a 5th grade Drama class: “Now, I need you to look like a huge polar bear. Eating chicken nuggets.”
- I had one student just continually cluck (yes, like a chicken) at me!
- I used to sneeze a lot and many in a row (thanks to allergies) and my first graders in a dual English/Spanish program would stop what they were doing and count my sneezes in Spanish. It was sad/awesome.
- I was showing a small group that I tutor a real globe of the world. I pointed out the 7 continents and then the U.S. and then the state and general vicinity of our city. A student asked me, “Where is my house? Can we see my house?” I still don’t know what he thought I could do to make his house appear on the globe.
- One kid’s thesis for an analysis of the play Fences was: Troy was a bad father in Feces by August Wilson.
- I was directing a large group of 7th grade choir students & in preparation for our upcoming Winter Choir Concert we were rehearsing a beautiful arrangement of Ding Dong Merrily on High. The ending of the piece had long sustained notes- for the students to sound like “bells”, if you will. During one rehearsal I stopped the choir and unfortunately said, “I need you to hold your ‘dongs’ longer.”
- After a week-long, in class project, 9th grade students had to select a country to research. On the final day, they gave presentations about their country, and one group (Thailand) declared as an opening: “We did Thigh-land…..”
- From one of our customers, using a different email address: “My son hijacked the other for gaming and Google now lists the name as Nasty Dr. Rage and that didn’t seem professional for trying to email you.”
- I was a principal where my oldest son was just starting kindergarten, and it’s always difficult for the parents to leave their children for the first time. Sister Georgiana had warned me that every year there’s one parent who won’t leave, and she might need me to help a parent when it’s time to leave. I got the call from Sister, and I was in the middle of something so I asked her if they could manage without me. Georgiana uncomfortably replied, “Well, we could, but she really won’t leave….and the parent is your wife.”
- “This EBD stuff is BS!”
- When I was directing A Christmas Carol, I was using this cool story version and having fun dividing up the literature to make it more interesting and attempting to share with the whole ensemble. The clock was striking midnight and Scrooge was asleep and the play had twelve “bong” sounds. So I said, “Ok. You do a bong. You do a bong. You do a bong. And then everybody do a bong together.”
- Working in pairs, students were to measure their partners’ height in inches. One student, holding up his yardstick, indignantly said, “How can we possibly measure with this? Everyone here is taller than this!”
- <Actors in a Kindergarten class were pretending to be butterflies landing on flowers>
Me: What color was your flower?
Student 1: Rainbow!
Student 2: Rainbow, with silver.
(everyone blown away!)
Clearly, in addition to the traditional knowledge base, teachers need to have the ability to keep a straight face and a strong sense of humor to lean on. Thank you to all the teachers who shared stories, and to everyone who approaches these experiences with a smile.
Got a funny story to share? Send them to [email protected], and you could be featured in our next round of classroom funnies. Names will be protected.😊