Ever Hear of Proofreading?

September 30, 2006

Now how about some of my favorite typos, etc. from students? I always meant to write down my favorites and never did. In the process I’ve lost some of the best, but these are the ones that stuck with me for one reason for another.

One year I assigned a project about Romeo and Juliet. One student wrote a detailed summary of the play. He repeatedly mentioned the “Fryer,” his amusing misspelling of the Friar in the play. My absolute favorite line in the summary, the only one worth reading, was when he said the “Fryer was cooking up a plan.” I don’t think he was even smart enough to catch the unintentional pun.

On a vocabulary assignment: “America’s ensign [loosely meaning “flag” here] has 51 stars, one to represent each state. “

Included in a student’s acrostic poem, for the “e” in his name: entelligent

An e-mail from a parent (yes, a parent!): “Could you let me know when you have torturing for the students?” Before I answered, “Whenever you want,” I realized she meant tutoring.

An actual student’s spelling of the word “Bible:” Bie-bull…It took me a good five minutes to figure out what he meant.

In a short essay from a group of juniors: “Benjamin Franklin’s many good writings explain how he got to be where he is today.” What? Six feet under?

I’m vaguely remembering another hilarious line including a typo in another student’s research paper, but the exact line eludes me right now. I’ll make sure to post it if I can remember it. I hate that I’ve forgotten it, because even now I remember it was the absolute best in my collection.

It Just Slipped Out

September 28, 2006

Ready for more teaching stories? Here are a few of my now-infamous mistakes in the classroom.

I was teaching geometry, reviewing my students for an upcoming test about triangles. I reminded them once again of the parts of an isosceles triangle. A student raised his hand and asked again what the vertex angle was. Desperate to find a new way to phrase it, this is what slipped out of my mouth before I could stop it: “The vertex angle is the one between the legs.” I might have gotten away with it, but the second I said it, I hesitated. Nobody had noticed until I paused to think about what I’d said. Then hilarious laughter erupted. The good news is that almost everyone in that class got that question right on the test.

A few years later, I had an English class made up of almost all jocks–immature freshman boy jocks. They were rude to each other to the point that I had to threaten to send them to the principal for cutting down their classmates too often. I hoped and prayed I’d never be on the other end of the “friendly teasing,” because I wasn’t sure I could handle it. This class had several textbooks that shouldn’t have been difficult to tell apart. One day I asked them to bring their grammar books to class with them, emphasizing that I meant the book not the paperback workbook. We rarely used it, so I made a big deal out of the unusual request. The next day almost nobody had the book with them. They proceeded to argue with me that I hadn’t specified which book they needed. Frustrated, I asked them just how specific they needed me to be. “Do I need to tell you every time that the grammar book is the green, big, fat, hard one?” Dirty as their minds already were, they didn’t need that moment of hesitation to start laughing. My face turned bright red because I knew I would never live that one down. For the rest of the year, I dreaded asking them to bring their grammar books to class. I knew they would ask me if I meant the “big, fat, hard one.” And yes, just as I expected, the teasing was relentless.


September 26, 2006

Last night, about 9:00 p.m.

Me: M? Were you still planning to go grocery shopping tonight?

PJ was already asleep, so only one of us could go. He’d promised on Sunday that he would go then, and when he didn’t, he assured me he would go last night. We’d had to search pretty hard to find something to eat for lunch, and we went out for dinner.

M: Silence

Me, to myself: I guess he’s too involved in his game. He must not have heard me.

Me, 10 minutes later: M? Were you still planning to go to the store tonight?

Silence again.

Me, 10 minutes later: M? Were you still planning to go to the store tonight?


Now assuming he’s ignoring me because he’s annoyed with me for asking, I shut up and finish the laundry.

Fast forward to 10:30.

Me: M? Are you still going to the store tonight?

M: Huh?

Me: The store? You’d said you were going to go tonight. Are you still going to?

M: Silent for a few seconds

M: Dang it! It’s too late now, isn’t it? What time is it?

I should have answered the first question before the second.

Me: It’s about 10:30.

He finally gets up from the computer. By this time, I’m feeling nauseous, dizzy, and feverish, so I’m just chilling on the couch. I can barely find the strength to smile at him as he walks by to go to our bedroom. I’m assuming he’s changing to rush to the store before they close at 11:00.

Then I hear the shower. He’s getting ready for bed. Now I not only feel crummy, but I’m annoyed with him too. I have no idea how we’re going to make it another day without groceries, but Hell could freeze over before I’m about to go. That’s something M had promised to take care of, and I’m not going to cave in because of his laziness and do it myself. Besides, I barely had the strength to get up to take my temperature. There was no way I was going out in public.

In retaliation, I made him gather the trash all by himself last night. Even the dirty diapers. That fever turned out to be good for something after all!

I went with him to the grocery store tonight. After cooking him dinner. How good a wife am I? (Yeah, yeah, yeah…it’s guilt for making him handle the dirty diapers. Sue me.)


September 24, 2006

I decided that on slow days when I can’t think of anything more pressing to blog about, I should regale you with some of the many stories I’ve collected over my years. Many of these stories come from my days as a teacher. I taught high school for five years. Three of these years were teaching math (mostly geometry) and two were teaching English. High schoolers, especially freshmen, offer no end to the humor.

I remember one freshman in particular. He was a football player that fit almost every stereotype: big, bulky, friendly with lots of girls, a huge flirt, and…well…lacking in brain cells sometimes. His friends all called him by his last name, so when I think back to this child, I think of him by that last name. I’ll call him Smith here (obviously a pseudonym).

Smith caught my attention quickly in the first few days of school, even when I was still learning names. He had chosen to sit in a desk next to the wall. I noticed him picking at the wall one day during class. I asked what he was doing, but he acted innocent. Instead of arguing, I just kept an eye on him the rest of the class period. Finally I figured out what he was doing. I still can’t believe the words ever had to leave my mouth: “Smith! Stop eating staples!” He was pulling staples out of the posters on my walls and actually eating them. Yes, a freshman in high school.

Several months later, we were working on a poetry project. We spent about a week and a half working on nothing but the project in class, and most students finished it easily. A few students, though, made very little progress in that time, and Smith was one of them. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw the finished product. Surprisingly, it was done well. I was already suspicious because this was far beyond the work I had seen him produce in class so far during the year. I did find two or three poems that he had clearly finished and printed out during class. They were simplistic and silly, but fit the qualifications. I still wondered about the rest of it, though, until I saw the poem that he’d chosen to save as the finale. It was a beautiful ode about how wonderful his mother was.

That wasn’t the only time his mother did a project for him. We had a major paper at the end of the year (only major for freshman; in reality it was easy). I spent day after day after day showing examples of the most basic parenthetical documentation in MLA format. I checked paper after paper after paper to make sure the students were doing it correctly. When I started grading the papers, almost nobody had it right. I was so frustrated at how little they had listened. Then I pulled out Smith’s paper to read. It was done absolutely perfectly–in APA format, with footnotes and everything. If he couldn’t even figure out MLA’s parenthesis-author’s name-space-page number-end parenthesis, how on earth could he figure out an entirely different format with incredibly intricate footnotes on his own? Too bad I couldn’t give a separate grade to his mom.

Even though he let his mom do most of his homework, I still found him disarmingly charming sometimes. He had a real soft spot for animals. More than once he came into class with stories about a puppy dog he had seen during his morning football practice. One day, though, the story he told was about a baby chicken he had found and rescued that morning. Every girl in class listened with open mouths as he explained that it was sitting in his locker until he could take it home that afternoon. I was as stunned as the rest of them. I didn’t even want to think about what his books would smell like by the end of the day. Of course, they probably already smelled like dirty clothes from football practice, so I pitited the poor chicken just as much.

The end of school came, and I was responsible for reminding them about the locker clean-up scheduled for later in the day. I advised them to clean out anything not essential or embarrassing before the official locker clean-up. Trying to be silly, I listed some of these items: previously mentioned dirty gym clothes, old rotting lunches, notes from ex-girlfriends…and dead bodies of baby chicks. Everybody looked at Smith, of course. He grinned from ear to ear. I didn’t know whether to take that as an admission that he’d found a dead chick in his locker or if he just knew I was poking fun at him. I didn’t really want to know.

I kept up with him the next year through stories from his sophomore English teacher. He apparently caused her no end of trouble. And she always started her stories with, “Remember your staple-eater…?”

Return of the Blah

September 23, 2006

I want to post, but I don’t feel like going through the effort. I don’t really want to figure out exactly what I’m feeling about all the subjects in my mind enough to write about them. I’m tired and I don’t feel good. But I’m still up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep or even come up with a better use of my time than blogging about how I don’t know what to blog about.

M and I had a slight disagreement about sex tonight, and that doesn’t help anything. He wanted to, but I had a headache. I told him I’d probably be up for it if he gave me a few minutes to let the desire outweigh the headache. When that happened a few minutes later, suddenly he was too tired for sex. A man? Too tired for sex? A man who had slept probably eleven of the last twenty-four hours? He’s slept more than I have, and that’s saying something. I was the one who didn’t feel good and had been tired all day. If I was up for it, he darn should have been. How come I always get myself in the mood, or at least pretend like I am, when he is, but he can’t do the same for me?

Then to top matters off, I was soo ready to fall asleep after he refused me. I rolled over and was perilously close to sleep when he decided he wanted to cuddle. I still almost fell asleep, even after moving, when I felt him start to doze off. I asked him to stay awake to take care of PJ’s meds a half-hour later since I wasn’t feeling great, but he fell asleep instead. I think that’s the real reason I’m awake this late. I had to work so hard to keep myself awake that extra half-hour that now I’m up for the long haul. Guess who’ll be irritated at me for sleeping the morning away tomorrow when he wants to be up doing stuff.

Just to set matters straight, I really do love my husband. He is usually quite considerate and will do nice things for me any time I ask. That’s why tonight’s seeming lapse bugs me more than it should. I guess I’m also a little worried too. Why is he suddenly this tired? I hope he’s not coming down with something. As crummy as I’ve been feeling the last couple of weeks, I don’t know how I can take care of both my baby and my husband acting like a baby.

And I apologize for the non-post that turned into a colossal rant. That wasn’t initially my intent, but the title pretty much set me up for that anyway. In a way, you were warned.

Finally, an Upbeat Post

September 22, 2006

I don’t think he’s deadpanning me. Either he’s so darn good at it that he has me completely convinced, or he’s telling the truth.

Honestly, that doesn’t seem to matter as much tonight, though.

I finally had the sudden courage to bring up one of the things that’s been on my mind tonight after he insisted again that he thought I was pregnant (although I still don’t think so). I confessed to him how much I hate this birth control. My prescription will end in about two weeks, and if I’m going to get it refilled, I need to hurry up and take care of that.

But I don’t want to refill it. While of course I’m hoping we’ll decide to try for another one, my main reasoning is that this birth control is messing with my system so much that I can’t stand it anymore. Maybe once I’m not nursing and can take the normal stuff, it will be ok. The normal stuff would at least regulate me again.

So I told M all this. Before I’d even gotten all the way through my reasoning, he’d agreed with me. I followed it up with saying we could find “alternative forms” of birth control until I could go on The Pill (the normal one). He agreed again, but followed that up with a roundabout explanation that we’d probably forget anyway, we both knew we didn’t like our usual “alternative form,” etc. In other words, we’re kinda, sorta trying to conceive. I think.

In reality, I think we’ve had enough pregnancy scares (I blame this stupid pill) that he’s resigned himself to the idea of being a daddy again. The time he’s spent with PJ has been fulfilling lately, and it’s possible he’s even ready to think about another one, not just tolerant of the idea.

It also probably doesn’t hurt that I’m less obsessive about it than I was in the first few months after PJ was born (I know what you’re thinking, and yes, this is less obsessive). I’d like to have another one, but I’m ok with it if it doesn’t happen this month. There are days when I even dread the thought of dealing with a newborn again, especially just as PJ enters the toddler months. The fact that I even brought up the idea of using other birth control until we’re ready to have another was probably a huge mark in my favor. How mature do I sound when I offer to do something he knows I don’t want to do, just because I think that’s what he wants? (Oh, yeah, he did the exact same thing by agreeing with me tonight…)

Anyway, I’m elated, if you can’t tell. It really and truly doesn’t matter if I’m not pregnant now. It doesn’t matter if I’m not regular now. Soon enough, I’ll be off this stupid pill, and shortly after at least one of those wishes should come true. And if the first one does, then does the second really matter?

Why I Wish I’d Never Taught Him to Deadpan

September 21, 2006

Sometimes he, my husband, can irritate me without even realizing it. Sometimes he will say something to me as though he’s completely serious, even when he’s joking. Anybody else who does this, like me, will quickly smile after to show it was just a joke. But not my husband. He insists on pushing the joke until I completely believe it. Sometimes I suspect he’s kidding, but he’s done such a great job making me believe it that I really start to.

Like this whole am-I-pregnant thing. I know there’s no way I’m pregnant. I just took a test last week that proved it, right? And while I have a few symptoms that could indicate a pregnancy, I don’t have the big ones. Combine that with the negative pregnancy test, and that’s pretty conclusive evidence that my birth control is screwing with my system.

My husband knows all this too. Yet he continues to make off-hand remarks about how I’m pregnant. The more he says them, the less I can laugh at them and shrug them off. I want so badly to be pregnant that it doesn’t take much encouragement from him to start believing I am. He even uses my own unspoken words against me: “It’s just like last time, where you didn’t think you were pregnant, and I was right.” He actually said that to me tonight. If you go back and read my post from earlier, you know that I’ve had that exact same thought–repeatedly for days.

But I’m NOT pregnant. There’s no way I am. I wish M could just quit with all the “you’re pregnant” comments so that I wouldn’t have to keep reassuring myself that’s the truth. It really sucks to get my hopes up this often and be repeatedly disappointed. If he’d let me handle it my own way, it would be so much easier. But maybe this is his way of handling the possibility that we get pregnant before he’s ready for another.

I Need a Break

September 20, 2006

No, really. I need a break, and desperately.

It’s bad when the first thought on rolling over to turn off your alarm in the morning is that you need a break. I want so badly to wake up when I want to wake up, not when the alarm says it’s time for PJ’s medicine, or when PJ says it’s time for breakfast. I want my schedule dictated by either my own whims or the TV schedule once again, not by PJ’s sleep schedule.

Why the heck do I want another one when I just want free of the one I have, even for a few hours or one night?

(Update on that really fast: I woke up this morning positive I was going to start. I haven’t. I’m about a full week late now. M keeps insisting I’m pregnant, and I keep insisting I’m not. Exactly the way it was when we found out we were expecting PJ. But I don’t have the crippling morning sickness or anything, just sore boobs, cramps, and a disappearing milk supply. Those could all be signs I’m about to start as easily as they can be signs of pregnancy. Either way, I hate my birth control.)

I hate that I haven’t gotten a true holiday from my job since May, when I got a single night away from PJ to celebrate our anniversary. I don’t even get weekends. M may change one or two diapers all weekend if I’m lucky, but I have basically all the same responsibilities as normal. I also don’t get holidays. I have absolutely no break in the foreseeable future to look forward to. I’m getting so burnt out, and there’s no hope that it will get better any time soon.

No wonder I’m starting to feel blah so much, between the hormones and the burn-out.

Desperate for Comments

September 20, 2006

Blogland has been awfully quiet lately, even on my other public and supposedly popular blog. I always go into a blogging slump whenever this happens. I like to think I don’t care about affirmation about my writing, but when I don’t get it for a while, I notice the difference in my motivation to write.

I know I started this line about the crazy guys in my past, but since nobody seems to be enjoying it, I may drop the series. I don’t know what to write about instead, though, so I may just break my blogging habit for a few days until either I stop caring about whether anybody reads or people start reading again.

Most likely this lukewarm feeling about blogging is due to my general feeling of blah lately. I can’t seem to get excited about anything. I’m having drastic mood swings too. I’ll do the usual female thing and blame it on hormones. I don’t know for sure that’s the case this time, but I always feel a little better about feeling depressed if I think it’s not my fault but the uncontrollable hormones.

The Puppet

September 19, 2006

Like the new look? Now that I have the ability to keep changing the colors, I probably will…and often. I get bored of the same thing for too long.

Speaking of that, how about more short-lived boyfriend stories? I know I mentioned several last night, but I think I’ll tell the story of The Puppet tonight instead. Don’t worry though; I’ll still tell the others.

The Puppet is my less-than-flattering name for the one boyfriend that resulted from a blind date (obviously not Lazy Eye from last night). One of the teachers I taught with several years ago was about my mom’s age. She had a son who was only ten days younger than me. I think she always felt somewhat motherly about me. Anyway, she and her son teamed up to set me up with one of his still-single high school friends. From the description, he sounded like my type: computer nerd, slightly shy, and unaware of his own charm.

I knew before we went out the first time what my hopes for the night were. My plan was simply to get a second date out of him, if I decided he was worthy when we met. He was surprisingly captivating. We chatted easily during dinner, so I chose to use my womanly wiles to con a second date out of him. Fortunately he had chosen pool as an after-dinner activity. I may not be very good at the game of pool, but I know how to play the game, if you know what I mean.

The first few games, I acted like I had no clue what I was doing. He “taught” me, as I predicted he would. Then suddenly he started losing game after game. It’s not that I was suddenly improving. He was merely distracted from the pool cue in his hands, trying to hide the pool cue in his pants (although that might be giving him more credit than he’s due). My skirt was just short enough to get him wondering without seeming sleazy, and my shirt just low enough to keep him looking, even though I knew he wouldn’t see anything. I’d planned it all. I was rightly smug when the date ended with plans for a second one.

My goal for the second date was a third date and hand-holding. I wanted to make progress while still coming across as the sweet, innocent thing he thought I was. Again, I dressed the part, just revealing enough to make him wonder, but perfectly innocent. And again, I accomplished my goals easily.

My goal for the third date was a kiss, and the promise of more. We ended up making out on the couch in my apartment, as planned, with me pushing back his wandering hands before they could wander anywhere that might sully my pristine innocence.

I look back at the next few weeks after that as well and realize I played him like a fiddle. I don’t think the guy would have wiped his nose if I hadn’t manipulated him into doing so. I’d never been the powerful one in the relationship before, and I savored my control over him. I enjoyed having a puppet who jumped when I called him and melted if I so much as winked at him.

After some time, though, I grew weary of my position as the one in charge. There’s a good reason I’d never had that much control before; that’s not me. It felt like I was wearing someone else’s clothes, pretending to be someone I’m not.

For that reason, I was none too disappointed when the night came that he broke up with me–his one and only act with a backbone of his own. We’d gone out with one of his friends, and in the car on the way home, both before and after dropping off his friend, it was far too silent. By the time we were alone in the car, I couldn’t elicit anything but a short, monosyllabic answer from him, something resembling a grunt, to anything I said. I finally gave up and squirmed in the oppressive silence. I felt like I could drown in the tension left in the void without noise. I knew before he said a word that it would be our last night together.

He walked me to my door and hesitantly started talking before I could give him a hug and kiss and close the door. He stumbled through a vague break-up speech that he had undoubtedly been practicing in his head the whole way home. I would have been somewhat upset with him for the suddenness of it, but he looked so uncomfortable that I actually pitied him. He stared at my feet the whole time and didn’t even look up when he left. I never saw him again.

I did cry a little after he left, more because I was lonely than I missed him. But before I could get to the sobbing stage, I would picture once again my puppet without a backbone so involved in breaking up with my feet. I had visions of myself stripping naked, dancing the hula, and clucking like a chicken, all without him noticing anything other than my toenail polish. I chalked it up to yet another story-worthy experience and moved on.