Posts Tagged ‘humor’

Let me open with a quick slightly off topic note.  I received a back channel compliment about my last post from my favorite teacher that was a bit unexpected.  She took it as a success story.  Which I guess it is, but that wasn’t really the way I had intended it.  While trying the “teaching thing” as a volunteer has a lot of drawbacks that I won’t enumerate here, it has the major advantage of ample resources and domain knowledge.  We had three volunteers working the classroom all of whom had planned, implement and shipped software recently.  So we could use something of a brute force solution to get the kids through an overly ambitious final project.  I can’t even begin to imagine how a classroom teacher with six or seven classes would recover from a similar goof.

But on the subject of success, here is one that I am particularly proud of in a slightly twisted  way.

I have what can most charitably called a dry wit.  Bone dry, like the middle of the desert in the heat of summer.  So much so that most of the time people that don’t know me very well tend to just stare at me blankly when I try to be funny.  Well, that’s when I don’t stoop to pre-teen level potty humor (but that’s another story).

I really try to curb my humor in the classroom.  I’m sure neither the blank stares nor any level appreciation if the kids actually get what I mean will help them learn to program.  Besides, I need to be able to register the blank stares as not understanding a technical point rather than conflating that reaction with incomprehension of humor.

So when we had our feature design exercise,  I walked by our most difficult team of students and overheard them talking about what they got for Christmas.  This was a pair where one of the kids had answered “I don’t care” for all three game ideas before the holidays and the other one seems almost incapable of keeping his eyes on the screen for more than about thirty seconds at a time.

Anyway, I stopped and asked them if their game was about presents.  Voice dripping sarcasm.  I felt really bad as the words were coming out of my mouth, it was definitely not a kind statement.  But then one of them said “yes.”  And I said “cool, let’s talk about how that works.”  And they really got into designing a questions answer game were the reward (score) was counted in presents.  It’s probably the most enthusiastic I’d seem them all semester.  And they did it.  It wasn’t’ the most complicated game in the class, but with some help from us they got a complete trivia game up and running with a presents theme woven in.

So either the student thought he had me fooled with his response to my original question or didn’t get the sarcasm at all (which I find very hard to believe – I’m pretty sure most of the students in my class think they invented sarcasm).  But in any case, there was another stumble that turned into success.  And I’m willing to accept credit or that one 🙂

Now time to learn python…