How come almost so many things a teacher can say at the front of the room during instruction can be twisted by freshman boys into some sort of sexual reference?
For example, I just used the phrase “he stiffened up” in a class of freshman (referring to the emotion of fear in a piece of lit we were reading)… and BAM, out came the giggles.
Har-Har… he ‘stiffened’ up. 10 kids laughed.
Of course, as soon as the words left my lips, I knew I was in trouble… and I truly wish I would have chosen a different means of describing how this person’s spine became more erect from fear.
I said FROM FEAR!
D’Oh! here we go again.
This is pretty much the reason why I just let the guffaws pass and keep on teaching when I toss up a few unintentional “sex ref” softballs that my freshman boys can wallop easily out of the park… because the chances of me trying to reframe the conversation and clarify what I meant will probably only add more fuel to their young fire and cause even more tangential links to the human penis.
You gotta admit, freshman boys can be pretty ingenious. I mean I have seen them link the most asexual things to human anatomy in a way that boggles the mind. And when they do, nowadays, I just play ostrich: I pretend I didn’t hear what they said, bury my head under the well-worn carpet and keep right on teaching… cause to stop risks disaster.
Then again, in the spirit of full disclosure, another part of me knows that if we were to wind back the clock about a hundred years to when I was a freshman in high school, well… for anyone who doubts the rule of karma exists, I’d say I could probably offer some anecdotal proof.
Maybe this aspect of my career is just a case of the stiff chickens coming home to roost?