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Classroom humor can be good

Teaching Your Child

Teaching Your Child

October 17, 2008|By LISA TEDRICK PREJEAN

I was sitting on our deck last Saturday grading essays when our dog suddenly decided to get affectionate.

She jumped up, put both paws on my legs and began to sniff the papers in my lap. Before she could take a bite, I scooped the papers out of range.

Whew. That was a close one. What would I have told my students?

"Sorry, my dog ate your homework."

The automatic "A" that would come along with that statement would not disappoint, I'm sure.

Perhaps I'd even have offers to dog-sit for free:

"And while we're watching your dog, Mrs. Prejean, we'll teach her that paper tastes yummy or how she can have fun ripping it up and spreading it across your yard."

Of course, their intentions would be for academic reasons only. I'm positive that would be the case. Training an animal is a worthwhile endeavor, after all.


Normally I grade papers at our kitchen table, but it was such a bright, sunshiny day. I didn't want to work inside all weekend long. My husband and children need some of my time, too. At one point, I took a break from grading to play volleyball with my family, but I kept the dog in sight while we were at the net.

Otherwise, the paws would have found the papers again.

At least the grass wasn't wet. How would I explain that to my students?

"I'm sorry, class, but my dog sat on your homework. See her paw prints? I think she likes your work."

After some of the humor I've heard during the last six weeks, I think my students would be amused.

They enjoy "tricking" me, and if the truth would be told, I delight in their antics. Their energy and creativity can be invigorating.

Just a few days ago while we were checking a grammar assignment, I became distracted. (Yes, that can happen to teachers, too.)

I read the answers to the first and second sentences. Then a student asked me a question, which I answered. My eyes went back to the second problem. I read the answer to that one again.

That's when I heard the snickers, so I looked up.

"What's so funny?" I asked innocently.

"You just read the answer to that one," a student replied.

"Oh. Sorry. Let's go on to number three."

After we had checked the entire assignment, I asked if there were any other questions.

A student raised his hand and asked, "Would you read the answers to number two?"

"Sure," I said, enthusiastically going through those again.

Snicker, snicker.

I looked up.

"Oh. That was a joke wasn't it? That was the one I already read twice, right? So you wanted to see if I would read it a third time? And I did. Funny."

I had to smile because I remember similar things happening in my high school classes. It was a way to make school interesting.

We really kept our teachers on their toes, and I guess some of that is coming back to me now. If my students knew how much I relate to them, though, they probably wouldn't enjoy their little schemes nearly as much.

Promise you won't tell them?

In return, I promise to keep my dog away from your newspaper.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page.

Send e-mail to her at

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