Monday, September 11, 2006

A Very Special Teaching Moment

So, for all four of my faithful readers, I bring you my finest teaching moment so far this year.

The scene: The second or third day of school. I'm teaching World Literature to a bunch of tenth graders and we're discussing their summer reading: Night by Elie Wiesel.

This has recently been an Oprah book, but if you don't hang out in bookstores (shame on you) or follow the Winfrey (this is ok) then let me catch you up. It's about the holocaust. Very serious, very sober.

That's pretty much all you need to know.

So we're discussing a scene in the book where the narrator watches a prisoner get hanged. It's a disturbing scene, and the narrator makes a reference to the eyes bugging out a little bit on the victim.

So one of my tenth graders innocently raises his hand and says, "What's the deal with the eyes here? Do they always bulge out like that when someone gets hanged?"

I, still nervous that I don't know what I'm doing but thinking that somewhere in the back of my mind I know the answer to this question, respond as follows:

"Well, that depends on how well hung you are."

Just enjoy that for a minute.

Then realizing what I've said but realizing that only a couple of the 10th graders caught anything, I move on pretty much without missing a beat. "You know, it depends on how well the hangman does his job and how quick death is." (I'm totally BSing now, trying to recover from my comment) "I think that's why they usually put a mask on people before they're hung. Hanged."

It was awesome. Keep reading, there'll be more stories to come.

No comments: