Student Quotes, Fall 2008

Twice a year I grace you with the silly and naive things my student say over the course of the school year. Today, I give you the rhetorical wit of my students from the fall of 2008. Most of these are sophomores, with a couple of junior and senior quotes sprinkled in… Enjoy!

Brian: “Hey Brigs, I listened to you on the radio yesterday morning.”
Me: “No you didn’t. Yesterday was Labor Day. I didn’t do the radio thing.”
Brian: “Yeah, sorry I lied to you. But I was up at 7:10 ready to listen to you and everything.”
Me: “On a three-day weekend? No you weren’t. You were still in bed.”
Brian, after a beat: “Yeah, you’re right. I’m sorry I lied to you again.”

Doug keeps referring to ethical appeals as “ethnical” appeals.

From art teacher Mrs. Manning: So I spend 2 days talking about the color wheel & mixing colors & primary, secondary, blahblahblah… Today I demonstrate mixing paint. They start painting. Jessica paints yellow & then tells me “I need like the plain orange paint.”

From a Boyz ‘n the Hood worksheet: I asked the kids to describe the neighborhood in the movie. Bailey said, “A run-down hood-like place,” and Aaron just wrote, “Gangsters by railroad.”

Test question: What aspect of Anne Bradstreet’s poem, “Upon the Burning of Our House” shows her Puritan values and/or beliefs?
Lindsey’s answer: “She talks about her big chest that burns, and many other objects, but she doesn’t care because she thinks God does everything for a reason.”

Student teacher Katie Hudson asking the kids what supernatural means:
Miss Hudson: “What is supernatural?”
Brody: “Unicorns!”

Doug: “You said that we have to type a final draft of our paper for tomorrow. Does that mean that if we already typed it up and there are parts that are wrong, we have to type it all over again?”
Me: “No, Doug. That’s kind of the whole point of typing it on the computer in the first place.”
Doug: “Oh, right.”

Miss Hudson, discussing “The Devil and Tom Walker,” asks, “What does the devil wear?”
Travis: “Isn’t it like a Speedo-lookin’ type of thing?”

Alex: “Hey Brigs, how’s that lemon?”
Me: “You mean melon? I’m eating melon.”
Keegan: “It’s called cantaloupe.”
Alex: “No, dummy; that’s an animal.”
Me: “You’re thinking of antelope. Cantaloupe actually is another word for melon.”

Miss Hudson: “So we could say that Timothy Treadwell (The Grizzly Man) was one of a kind?”
Travis: “No, that’s not true. I saw this thing on TV about a guy who was eaten in half by bear.”

Harley’s title for his Grizzly Man paper: “Dumbasses in the Wild”

Jennifer, referencing Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience,” in which he encourages nonviolent protest: “Are we going to have homework on homecoming weekend? If she gives us homework, I’m gonna do that ‘civil’ thingy we read about.”

Mark: “Isn’t Afghanistan in South America?”

Chase: “How did Edgar Allen Poe die?”
Me: “Nobody knows for sure. He just disappeared for a few days, showed up in a gutter, and then died before he could give an explanation as to what happened.”
(The class is silent, looking around at each other in confusion).
Chase: “They found him in a gutter?”
Me: “Yeah… why is that so hard to believe?”
Chase: “Well, how’d he get up there?”
Me, after a beat: “Not a rain gutter, you guys—a ditch!”
The class, collectively coming to realization: “Oooohhhhh.”

Aaron, after pinching a student and receiving the punishment of being held one minute after the bell that releases students for lunch: “Mr. Brigham, can’t you just take some points off of my grade or something instead?”

There’s a boy with Downs Syndrome at our school, and he’s absolutely the sweetest kid in the world. He’s big about high fives and hugs, and everybody—teachers and students—loves the kid. He and I had this interesting exchange this morning:

Him: “Are you coming to see me in the play this weekend?”
Me: “I really wish I could, buddy, but I’ve got to work this weekend. I’m going to the Bulls game to interview all the players and write about them.”
Him, excited: “Really?”
Me: “Yup, and I know Derrick Rose is your favorite player so I’ll tell him you said hello.”
Him, absolutely serious: “Will you give him a hug for me, too?”

Aaron: “I ain’t done nothing wrong!”
Me: “’I ain’t done nothing wrong?’”
Aaron: “Sorry—I didn’t do nothing wrong.”

In response to a Soulja Boy quote in which he said, “Shout out to the slave masters! Without them we’d still be in Africa. We wouldn’t be here to get this ice and these tattoos,” sophomore Justin responded, “Soulja Boy should be packed into a crate and shipped to Africa.”

Avvetta, starting a new book for a class she was absent for the previous day: “Miss Hudson, what’s this book about?”
Miss Hudson: “It’s about 260 pages. Now quiet down and get reading.”

Miss Hudson: “Tonight’s story is called A Mystery of Heroism…”
Chase: “Heroism? Like the drug?”
Trey: “You’re thinking of heroine, dummy.” Then, sarcastically, “I gotta go get some heroism from my dealer!”

Alex, during a discussion about bullies: “If someone calls you ugly, you just call them even uglier.”

Miss Hudson: “What came after the Civil War?”
Chris: “World War 1!”

After calling former student David immoral once I found out he’d been smoking, he wrote back to me with the following: “Immorality is just the morality of people having more fun.”

“Henry did not have huge viscous bears where he lived.”
-Nate’s Grizzly Man paper.

Chasen, for seemingly no reason: “Have you ever gotten an MRI? It feels like you wet yourself and you’re 150 degrees!”

Frank, God bless him, spelled the word “accepted” like this: “itsepthed.” Took Miss Hudson and I few minutes to figure that one out.

Miss Hudson: “Does anybody know what an anagram is?”
Chase: “It’s when you take a word like ‘book’ and find out it if you rearrange it you can get another word, like ‘koob’ or ‘kobo.’”

Me, to former yearbook kid Ivy: “Hi, Ivy. Have you lost weight?”
Ivy: “I don’t think so, but thanks.”
Me: “Yeah, well I think I’m gaining weight. Maybe it left you and went to me?”
Ivy, excitedly: “Or maybe you’re turning into Santa Claus and you don’t know yet! I saw that in a movie once.”

From my wife in the world of fourth graders: “For DLR today we were using context clues to determine the meaning of a word in a sentence. The word this morning was herpetologist. A little girl raised her hand and asked, ‘Isn’t that someone who studies herpes?’”

Another wifey gem: “I’m grading spelling sentences and one of the words this week is seize. One of my kids wrote, ‘I have a cold so bad that I seize a lot.’”

Jeff: “Hey Brigs, what’s a rite of passage?”
Me: “It’s something a person goes through where they sort of leave childhood and move towards adulthood. It could be something formal, like a Bar Mitzvah for Jewish boys, or it could just be some unplanned party where you get your first kiss or something like that.”
Frank McCray, trying to tease another boy: “Yeah, well Aaron ain’t had his Bar Mitzvah yet.” He and Jeff start laughing hysterically while Aaron rolls his eyes.
Me: “What are you talking about? Aaron’s not even Jewish.”
Frank, who immediately stops laughing and gets this really confused look on his face: “Huh? I thought you said a Bar Mitzvah was a party where people get their first kiss?”

“Jedediah Smith had stumbled onto Comanche Indian land during one of his expeditions when he was looking for water on the Santa Fe Trail, and when the Indians saw his traps they thought that he was a treat and he was killed.”
– from Jesse’s “Western Expansion” paper

“Argeus” is the creative way Eric spelled “arduous” on a recent test.

Me: “What do you call someone who doesn’t work in the military?”Chris: “A pedestrian.”Me: “No. A civilian, but I guess you were kind of close.”

These are my children, ladies and gentlemen 🙂

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