free stats Carmen's Web: I'm not sure one should joke around with uranium...
Thursday, March 02, 2006
I'm not sure one should joke around with uranium...

All teachers, every now and then, are afflicted with annoying students. You know, those students that make you cringe when they raise their hand to talk because you know their answers are just going to be so STUPID. And once they start talking they just won't stop. You have to pretend to listen and offer positive feedback when all you want to do is tell them to SHUT UP and stop being STUPID. You KNOW the type I'm talking about, even if you're not a teacher.

I know teachers should remain neutral and objective, but it gets difficult sometimes. I have one such student right now and it takes all of my energies not to kick him out of my class (or throw him out of the window). There's no real reason to kick him out. He's not an unruly or troublesome student, he's not neccessarily offensive...he's just A-NNOY-ING. I feel bad even writing this, but there's just no way around it!

I met him for the first time in my grammar class about a month ago. I learned that he was from Turkey, at which point I immediately decided to hide my nationality and religion lest he think we could become best friends by virtue of it. He discovered my secret one day, however, when I went to school wearing a Koranic chain. A couple of days later he comes up to me and says,

"You wear something Arabic. It is Koran". I tell him, yes, I know.

"Only Muslims wear thing this [this is not a typo by the way]." Umm, okay.

"You Muslim?" Yes, I am. Great deduction you got there.

And he decided that I was going to be his best friend for the remainder of his time at the school. All the other Turks learned about me through him and I immediately became popular with them. I couldn't pass one of them in the hall without hearing Arabic phrases. I became their best friend too.

Anyhow, I digress. My annoying student walks up to my desk two days ago as the rest of the class was packing up to leave. I was sitting at my desk completing some transcripts when I looked up to see him walking towards me with something in his hand. In general I wouldn't worry when a student tries to approach me. I mean, what can a student really want?? Help with homework? General life advice? It shouldn't be scary. But as he approached me I was filled with nothing but dread.

I looked up at him and gave him a polite teacher's smile as he extended his hand to show me a folded napkin in his palm. He brought his hand closer to my face and started mumbling something. As an ESL teacher you get used to students who have difficulty expressing themselves in English, but what he was doing was just creepy. He kept mumbling and whispering something incomprehensible,

"I have slkjdaoiepj;lakjh;dlkfj, home".

I had to stop him and ask him to speak a little slower, at which point he said,

"I have uranium in my hand that I made at home...sssshhhhhh...don't tell anybody".

He opened the piece of napkin to reveal a Turkish Delight and let out an annoying chuckle. Ha ha ha.

These kind of "jokes" are probably not so safe to make when you're an international student from the Middle East studying in New York City. I know his little uranium joke was just a way of expressing our shared Middle Eastern heritage post 9/11 (I truly, TRULY hope that he doesn't make jokes like that with other people), but PLEASE don't talk terroristic to me!!
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 10:34 PM
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Who: Carmen

Mini-Bio:
xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

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