Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

What is the meaning of meaning?

Or, sometimes, the incomprehensible is truly irrelevant

At the community college where I teach, there is an understanding among instructors that, upon vacating a classroom, the departing instructor erases the chalkboard or markerboard, so the arriving instructor doesn’t have to. To my mind, that’s just plain common courtesy, but there was one incident I had a few terms back that showed that the issue went beyond that.

The previous instructor in the classroom I arrived in had not erased the blackboard, leaving it covered in dense mathematical equations having to do with physics. In most classrooms, if I stretch up on tiptoe, I can just barely reach out with the eraser and get the upper part of the chalkboard, but this classroom’s chalkboard was mounted higher, so I couldn’t get the top six inches or so. Thus, when my students arrived in the classroom, there was a band of physics equations at the top of the board.

I proceeded with that day’s lesson – it was early in the term, so I was explaining the writing process and prewriting exercises. A student arrived late, and when he got to his seat, he proceeded to write down everything that was on the board.

After class, he came up to me with his notebook and pointed to the physics equations that he had copied down. “What does this mean?” he asked.

“It means I’m four-foot-eleven,” I replied.

3 Comments:

Blogger Tillerman said...

Ha ha. Serves him right for being late. I wonder what was going through his mind while copying down those equations?

Wed Sep 06, 07:10:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Iris Blue said...

That is too funny!

Fri Sep 08, 05:40:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous AdriftAtSea said...

That's priceless Carol Anne. Just priceless.

Tue Sep 12, 06:39:00 AM MDT  

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