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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Those Bastard Nazi Pachyderms...



For some reason, history class is a veritable Aladdin's cave of glittering overheard comments and conversations illustrating the Herculean challenge laid at the feet of today's educators. Currently, we're in the midst of World War II, which never fails to get me choking back tears with tales of the loss of human dignity, life, and family. Even heroic tales like that of Sobibor has me blinking back tears, so any laugh to come along is truly welcomed. This little gem did not disappoint:

HistoryTeacher gave the students a fun little "Weird Facts about World War II" multiple choice paper to surprise the kids with tidbits such as Hitler's true last name (Schicklgruber... Who knew?) and that top secret code words related to the invasion of Normandy were concealed in a crossword in the London paper...

One question asked who the sole victim of the first Allies' bomb dropped on Berlin was. The answer was an elephant in the zoo. A stunned student interrupted:

StunnedStudent: So... The elephant was a Nazi? Like, it had a swastika on it or something? Like a big jacket or blanket or something?

HistoryTeacher: Er, no. It just happened to be the unfortunate target. The bomber wasn't aiming specifically for the elephant.

StunnedStudent: Oh, I thought maybe it had something on it, like a Swastika...

I wish I could tell you the kid was trying to funny, or even that he was trying to make a statement about the unfortunate fact that innocents are always lost amid man's madness... But I can't. He was dead serious. (Note: He is not identified as a student with special needs and attends college preparatory classes.)

I'm reminded of the South Park episode "Whale Whores" with dolphins and whales being wrongfully accused of dropping the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It seemed like a way out there plot at the time... Now? Not so much.

2 comments:

calencoriel said...

Once...in my high level biology class a junior asked me if a whale shark was a combination of a shark and whale. This was the same student who asked how they trained the shark from Jaws to do what it did in the movie...

Sadly, both times the student was completely serious.

TeacherLady said...

When I was a kid, I didn't want to believe "Bruce" the shark wasn't real because it would make the film a lot less scary. When I finally went to Universal Studios (still a kid at the time) and went on their lame Jaws ride, I was so in awe... He was like a movie star to me.
Yes, I was a very strange child... But I knew the shark wasn't real...
Thanks for sharing that one! :)