Funniest Classroom Moments

Here are the five winners of our "Funniest Classroom Moments" contest, sponsored by Web English Teacher and
  • Reading the excuse notes my 18-year-old students write out themselves in front of the class, I said 'I truly wish someone would be honest and tell me truth about why they miss the class. All these headaches and stomach upsets I read about somehow don't ring true.'
    Ten minutes later another slip reached me saying 'Sorry for being absent yesterday after the 4th lesson. I had to go home because of the murderous flatulence that possessed me.'

    Martina Baasner, Berlin, Germany

  • I was teaching English 7 at an elementary school. Back in those days, we still had recess and snack time. My students regularly shared snacks. One day of my students named Gerald brought peanuts for the entire class. Now, Gerald came from a very poor family, so in my mind, I was questioning--how in the world could he afford to give peanuts to the entire class. The class was busily munching when I walked over to Gerald and casually remarked, "Gerald, that was certainly nice of you to supply peanuts for the class. Where did you get them?"
    Gerald happily answered, "From the dump, you can find some good stuff at that dump."
    Meanwhile, the rest of my class were gagging and, needless to say, sick to their stomachs the rest of the day.

    Sandra Benson, Virginia

  • I like to read books to my 6th grade class in an effort to expose them to the various genres and authors. One day I was reading Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park. It is a rather serious book in which a middle-school aged girl is dealing with the sudden death of her brother. At the very end of the book is the sentence, "It can give you the shivers if you think about it too much." Well, at least those are the words I read. When I spoke, it came out like this-"It can give you the shitters if you think about it too much." The whole class (including me) froze for a brief moment, then burst out in hysterical laughter. Since then, I smile and laugh to myself when I read that sentence.

    Jennifer Dolan, Pennsylvania

  • Story One:
    One day in my eleventh grade English class, we were discussing how a play's director and actors continually revise their performances if things aren't going well, such as if someone flubs a line, misses a cue, or experiences some other mishap. Trying to put this into a context my non-thespians would understand, I asked if any of them played in the school orchestra. One demure young lady indicated she plays the violin. Thinking I had a good opportunity to prove my point, I said, "Let's say you're in the middle of a performance, and your G-string breaks...." I was mortified!

    Story Two:
    During a particularly exhasperating period with my tenth grade English class, many members of which continually whined that the class wasn't "fun," I decided to make it clear that I did not intend to stand before them and attempt to entertain them. I sternly began my speech on the goals of our class, the expectations that I had of my students, and the need for them to pay attention to instruction. I nearly lost my stride when, instead of saying that I would not perform tricks for them, I announced, "I am not going to sit up here and turn tricks for you." Thank goodness not a single one of them caught that, and I quickly wrapped up my rant and got back to the lesson.

    Story Three:
    My eleventh grade students had been reading Oedipus Rex , and we were discussing Oedipus as a tragic hero, specifically his desire to seek the truth at all costs and why he chose to blind himself rather than kill himself when he ultimately what he had done. Most of my students were mortified at the course of events in the play, but one student said matter-of-factly, "If I found out that I'd killed my father and slept with my mother, I'd have been like, 'Oops!'"

    Shelley Stahl, Georgia

  • While teaching Julius Caesar to my sophomores, I tried to "make it real" for the students and use their vocabulary to explain events. While discussing the assassination of Caesar, I found, to my embarrassment, that correct usage holds the same rules for "street talk" as it does for standard English. We were examining the dramatic irony in Caesar's "I am as constant as the Northern Star" speech, and I pointed out that it was ironic because we, the audience, knew that Caesar was about to get "whacked off" in the next few minutes. Five boys fell on the floor in hysterics. I stood there in confusion until one of them took me aside and explained the difference between "whacked" and "whacked off"... my face still burns.

    Susan Woodward, New York