Thursday, March 26, 2009

Strange kids.

I'm a little weird, but my students are weirder.

1. The Albanian Kid

For the first few years of my teaching career, I seemed to always have one kid per year who was born in Albania; no more, no less. They were always kinda kooky and a little bit off-kilter, but overall really likeable (and tended to do pretty well in my class).

There was a dearth of Albanians the past couple of years, but this semester I got another one, and he's kookier than all the others put together. He'll blurt out random outrageous claims:

Me, to the class, in response to a question: "Well, you know, the Amazon River's pretty long, and it's infested with pirhanas."
Him, unprompted, for all to hear: "Yeah, I swam that last summer. I didn't really mind the pirhanas; I just punched them all in the face."

Also, like many of the other Albanians I've taught, he has a randomly-placed (and oddly-pronounced) X in his name.

2. The Conservative

She's 15 and thinks she's a Tory. It'd be funny if they weren't all such fucking dicktree douchetools.

3. The Slacker Brainiac

I teach some pretty bright kids in one of my classes, but one of them is probably the brightest kid I've ever taught. The problem is, like a lot of 'em, he knows it. I have to say, though, most of the time he humours me and just goes along with the class; he's probably read up on all this stuff years ago, but maybe I fill in a detail here and there which completes the picture. (I've seen a look on his face before, when I've mentioned a random factoid, which seems to say, "Aha, so that's how that fits in there. I guess it was worth paying attention to, after all.")

He also wears fleece track pants every day, without exception. He's not slovenly or anything. I guess he just likes to be comfortable — if you spent six hours a day in a building that bored you silly, and 99% of what people told you, you already knew, you'd want to be comfortably chillin' out, too.

4. The Steely Dan Chronicles

I will occasionally drop references to my (and your) favourite nerdy jazz-pop duo in classes. The way I figure it, if I do this enough, some kid is going to be puttering-around on the Internet one day, and they'll think, "Hmm, I remember hearing the name 'Steely Dan' somewhere, and that they're a band. I wonder what they're about." They may love it (!!!) or hate it (...), but at least they'll have heard it, and that's about all I can ask.

Now, Steely Dan isn't for everyone. In fact, it's for very, very few people. You probably hate them, but that's OK: I hate pretty much everything that's played on mainstream radio stations, and I've come to terms with that. However, an exchange in class today proved that, perhaps, there's a glimmer of hope on that vapid teenage horizon:

Me, while kids were working on an assignment: [staring off into the distance with an empty look on my face]
Kid in the front: "Hey, are you awake?"
Me: "Yeah, I'm just sorta tired, and thinking of a Steely Dan song called 'Everyone's Gone To The Movies'. It sounds like tropical elevator music."
Kid in the back: "I know Steely Dan!"
Me: "Holy hell, why? How?"
Kid in the back: "Yeah, I realize most people don't know them, but I know 'Kid Charlemagne'* is referenced in a recent song by somebody else."**
Me: [staring at the kid in the back with a goofy grin on my face]

* one of their most technically-difficult songs, which introduced fret-tapping two years before Eddie Van Halen came on the scene, and is also one of the favourite songs of Toto guitarist Steve Lukather
** extensive research has revealed that the song in question is "Champion" by some young up-and-comer named Kanye West

In conclusion, my job is never, ever, ever boring.


Kelly said...

"if you spent six hours a day in a building that bored you silly, and 99% of what people told you, you already knew, you'd want to be comfortably chillin' out, too."

So that's what I should be doing at Humber....

thea said...

I've loved Steely Dan since I was a kid, singing along to 'Time Out Of Mind', dreaming of the day when I too would chase the dragon, whatever that was.

ecb said...

I'm reporting you for child abuse.

JTL said...

ECB: Why? It's not like I forced them to listen to the song "Gaybar" over and over again.

Thea: That's a funny blog you have over there. I stumbled upon the story of the name of it, and... wow, you really do love tacos.

Kelly: Yup! Slack it up!