As the years pass and time goes by, I suspect most teachers wish they had written down the funny things that happen in their classes that they are just sure they will remember, which of course, they don’t. I am at the top of that list, but here is one story that I do remember that usually gets at least a smile.
I was teaching an honors junior English class at Muleshoe High School and had the kids in groups working on vocabulary. Some of these kids should have been in that class; others perhaps not. But I digress. One group was close enough to my desk for me to hear the conversation when the word omnipotent comes up. Omnipotent, as we all know, means all-knowing, all-powerful, almighty. I hear Girl M (all names will be coded to protect the guilty), who is 17 going on 27, when she perks up and says to Boy G, “You should tell everybody you’re impotent.“
At this, Boy G straightens up, grins, and puffs out his chest. He likes the sound of that. Girl M smirks, and I say, ” Boy G, you might want to be sure what the word means before you say that to anyone.”
At this, Boy C, also in the group, takes it up on himself to look up impotent. He reads loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, “Unable to copulate,” and I knew we still weren’t out of the woods. “What does that mean?” he asks me, and I say, ” I think I’ll let you ask your mom about that one.”
Well, that was an immediate tip-off that he definitely didn’t want to ask Mom. About that time the bell rings, and as they are gathering up to leave, there is some banter among them. Boy G is still wanting to know what impotent means.
As they are walking out the door, I hear Boy J confide to Boy G, ” It means you’re shootin’ blanks,” and I am thinking, well, we’re not there yet, when I hear Girl M gleefully inform them, “It means you can’t get it up.”
Off they go into their adolescent world of angst and sexual tension, armed with one more tidbit of knowledge about the most pressing topic of their young lives.
And they didn’t even have to endure a class on sex education to learn it.