A way with people.

This isn’t that big a deal, but since my current batch of students are getting to the point where they’ve discovered the blog and I’ve embarrassed two of them enough for one day, I’m gonna password-protect it for a while.

Last week in class, it somehow came up that Girl X and Boy Y were dating. This week, to draw an analogy to Calhoun’s “The Union–next to liberty–most dear!” toast, I needed to use a boyfriend and girlfriend, so I quite innocently thought I could pick on X and Y.

A rough transcript:

ME: Who were the boyfriend and girlfriend last week?

SOME OTHER STUDENT: It was Girl X and Boy Y.

[Girl X looked normal. Boy Y was squirming.]

ME: It was?

BOY Y (bitterly): It was.

ME: Oh. It’s not anymore?


ME: Oh.

[I paused to consider how to proceed, and settled on normally instead of delicately or considerately.]

ME: Well, I’m using you two in the example anyways. Pretend Girl X asks Boy Y, “Do you love me?” Y answers, “You–next to pizza–most dear!” How would X feel about knowing that she’s second in his heart to pizza?


ME: Right! So Calhoun’s quote means that he loves the Union, but…

SOME OTHER STUDENT: Not as much as his liberty.

I glanced around to room to check for the looks of comprehension, and sure enough, Boy Y was glaring at his desk and Girl X had that smiling-yet-fuming look on her face that I’ve seen once or twice in my brief time on this Earth. It’s not a happy look, and it doesn’t bode well for anybody. I figured I’d better apologize to them privately.

I spoke with Boy Y right after class and said I was sorry to have hit a sore point, and that I hoped I hadn’t hurt his feelings. He said he was a little hurt but that he’d be okay one day. Not quite the “Oh, it’s no big deal” I was hoping for. Oops.

I ran into Girl X later in the school day and apologized to her. She replied that it was okay because she hurt him more than he hurt her. Before bringing out any more of the worst in her, I cut her off and said I didn’t care one way or the other who hurt whom, I just wanted to apologize. She said it was okay. I concluded, in essence, with “Good. Now go away.”

So, to recap: hurt one kid’s feelings in front of the entire class, tapped the inner Heather in another kid, probably made things even worse with the apologies… not a proud day. This is what I get for trying to be creative during lectures. Maybe I should just have the kids do word searches and color.

5 thoughts on “A way with people.

  1. Dude. I’m socially inept and I could have told you ahead of time that was going to go [badly].

    For next time: Use Brangelina as your example.


  2. Of course it was going to go badly. I’m Mr. V.

    And to say that you’re “socially inept” is like saying… um… I was going to use a physics example and say that a Planck-length string is merely “small” but that doesn’t quite capture the magnitude of the understatement.


  3. Well at least they were already broken up. You used to cause Urdu intense paranoia with your teasing of OUR class couple, particularly the “don’t worry it WILL end badly” comments. Needless to say your dedication to his genius compensated.


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