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Rated: E · Non-fiction · Experience · #806886
A spelling lesson that didn't quite take.
Is It Miss, Ms. or Mister?

In Michigan, kids go to school until mid-June. Because it's in the northern part of the U.S., many of the older, inner-city schools don't have air conditioning. The heat, combined with the heady, distracting aroma of late spring wafting in through open windows, along with wistful thoughts of impending summer, all work against the sharpening of any academic processes.

But school is still in session, and as they say, "the show must go on".

After spending a week on drill and practice, I was administering the last spelling test of the year to my eighth graders. The sap having risen to its highest levels, the kids had pretty much shut down, school-wise, for the term. I, however, dedicated teacher that I am, was adamant that if I had to be there doing my job, so would they.

The word was "misdemeanor". I carefully enunciated it, used it in a sentence to clarify its meaning, and then I repeated the word to be sure that it had been clearly heard and understood.

A hand went up in the back of the room. I acknowledged it.

The question, delivered in total seriousness and absolute sincerity was, "Would that be a man or a woman?"

At that point, I ended the test. Despite my best efforts, summer had officially begun.

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