Live the Questions

Words of Torah, funny anecdotes about my students, rants about education policy, and observations on politics, progressive Judaism, activism, and culture will all make appearances on this blog. Each post will end with a question for the reader; please respond if you feel moved.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

. . . the darndest things

Those of you that know me have heard me tell funny stories about my student from Georgia (the former Soviet republic, not the US state). This student-- I'll give him the alias Ushisha, which means "fearless"-- is brilliant but often rather childish and socially inappropriate. Although Ushisha's only been in the USA 2 years, his written English is better than that of many of my native-born students. He is energetic, distractible, and loves to annoy others, so I often have to ask him to stop bothering his peers. Recently, I had to prevent him from repeatedly poking another student with his pencil. While the student on the receiving end was attempting valiantly to ignore Ushisha, I could tell his patience was reaching the breaking point.

I chastised Ushisha. To distract him from poking the hapless student, I asked him, "Ushisha, how do you say 'stop doing that!' in Georgian?"Ushisha replied with a sentence in Georgian, which I wrote down phonetically after having him repeat it several times to ensure that I approximated the accent, etc.

The next day, Ushisha was at it again, "boinging" the curls of the girl sitting next to him, while she whined, "stuuuuuuuuuuuuoooooooooop!" I quickly found the piece of paper where I had written down the phrase from the day before and called it out to Ushisha.

He immediately stopped and glanced up at me with an extremely wounded look. "Miss! You cursed at me."

Needless to say, he had taught me how to say something akin to, "Stop doing that, you asshole bastard!" and then had actually momentarily forgotten what he'd taught me.

Caveat praeceptor (beware, teacher)

Afterwards I asked him to teach me how to say, "Please stop," but I've been too scared to use it.


  • At 5:17 PM, Blogger ZT said…


    cross-cultural adjustment, classroom adversity, and irony oh my!
    great story general.

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