Events in the Life of a DC Teacher

Today I encountered a child who I am pretty sure must be the happiest kid ever to ride on the Metro.  He cheered when we came out of a tunnel.  He cheered when we stopped.  He cheered when we started again.  He was still cheering, "Hurray!", when he got off with his dad.  I feel vaguely guilty that my sense of decorum prevented me from celebrating right along with him.

I also, almost accidentally, found at least one way to tell a joke effectively to high school students.  The key is contrast.  In Geometry, we've gotten to that chapter on basic logic – conditionals, propositions, negations, and so forth.  In defining negation, I offered the synonym "denial".

Then, unable to resist, I embarked on a highly speculative venture.

Says I, "There are two things you need to know about denial."  Blank stares.  "The first is kind of serious, and psychological: denial is considered the first step to acceptance."  More blank stares, and a few shocked looks from the few who have heard this before.

"The second is kind of silly, but everyone should know it."  A dramatic pause.  "Denial is a river in Egypt."

And the room erupted in laughter.  I've never gotten that kind of response to such a terrible – and well-worn – pun before, and I'm convinced the key is the set-up.

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