Fresh Nuggets O’ Learnin’

Posted: October 16, 2013 in Uncategorized
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By Paul Gaszak, English Faculty

I agree with my colleagues when they contend that we learn just as much at school each day as the students. The only difference is that my colleagues say this because they are keen, open-minded, lifelong learners. I say it because I’m not very smart and don’t know much.

Therefore, I expect – nay – demand that I learn wonderful and amazing things every day that I come to work. As we approach midterm, here is some of what I’ve learned so far this term:

  • After midnight, Twitter becomes “Twitter After Dark.” According to one student, “That’s when Twitter gets ‘nasty.’” At first, I thought this meant they were tweeting late night delivery orders to Papa John’s. Then I realized what it actually meant. I immediately informed class that, “One: I’m learning way too much about y’all. And two: I need a Twitter account.”
  • Yelling “Hey Girl!” is an ineffective pickup line in an academic setting.
    • And everywhere else in society.
      • Note to self: when I open my Twitter account, don’t use #HeyGirl.
  • Teachers are smartphone hypocrites. We discourage students from playing on their phones during class. But, if faculty get bored during meetings, we text each other pictures of the Samuel L. Jackson dog. And then revise famous Sam Jackson quotes as if they were said by a dog.
"That's it! I'm tired of these motherf--- squirrels in my motherf--- yard!"

“That’s it! I’m tired of these motherf— squirrels in my motherf— yard!”

  • Folding a piece of paper horizontally is called “hamburger” and vertically is called “hot dog.” Students were shocked I didn’t know this, prompting one to tell me, “You’re old as hell!” I knew time would eventually transition me from “young” teacher to “old” teacher. I never thought it would be triggered by cute, food-related paper folding names.
    • I have decided that folding together opposite edges of paper is called “taco.”
      • I haven’t informed my students of this yet.
  • Offering an exemption from the final exam for perfect attendance throughout the term promotes attendance and punctuality to extremes. “I am not missing for any reason,” one student insisted. “If I get sick and I’m throwing up, I’m still coming. I will throw up in your class. On the floor.”
    • Note: This student has already missed a class.
  • Discussions about religion and politics are sure to lead to contentious debates and heated arguments. This I already knew. There are so many opposing beliefs that run deep to our cores. I did not know the same happens to people when talking about the merits of box wine. In a single day, a firestorm of box wine bickering broke out among both faculty and students, and weeks later, the fire still burns. Friendships deteriorated, punches were thrown, and blood spilled like a punctured box of Franzia.


  • The words “Poetry” and “Group Work” produce similarly loud groans of exasperation and hatred.
    • I can’t wait to assign poetry group work.
  • Several students asked me if I workout. I wasn’t sure if that was an observation, a compliment, or a suggestion. Most recently, one student informed me I’m “Swoll.” Thus, I learned that people are finally noticing how much I look like LL Cool J.
I'm on the right. I know - it's like we were separated at birth. And no, I don't mind if you call me LL Cool P.

I’m on the right. I know – it’s like we were separated at birth. And no, I don’t mind if you call me LL Cool P.

  • It is acceptable to take phone calls during class so long as you turn your back to the lecture, whisper, and occasionally glance back at the teacher. Should the teacher call you out, the proper response is to turn to your classmates and ask why they gave you away.
  • Men ages 18-22 will wear sports apparel for teams they do not support simply because they like the colors and design of the jersey or hat. Following their lead, I am going to start hanging various national flags around my desk – not because I support that country, but because I like its look.
Where can I buy a Norfolk Island jersey?

Where can I buy a Norfolk Island jersey?

  • The surest way to get a class to lose its collective mind in cheers, applause, and laughter is to have an short, adorable man named Benito twerk during a presentation. In fact, it was so effective, that I plan to hire Benito to follow me around. Whenever I have a lecture or presentation that isn’t going well, I’ll just hit play on some music and step out of the way.
  • If you yell “FIRE” in a crowded movie theater, those people will not move nearly as fast as an office full of teachers at the sound of “Free cookies!”
    • Or “Free drinks!”
  • Put a bowl of strange candy near teachers and they will approach it cautiously, eat a single piece, declare it tastes strange and awful, and then proceed to eat the rest of the bowl.
"It's just so...strange," says one professor, as he makes a face like he smells a soiled diaper, and plants his feet firmly next to the bowl.

“It’s just so…strange,” says one professor, as he makes a face like he smells a soiled diaper, and plants his feet firmly next to the bowl.

  • The only thing people have energy for at 8:00am is to tell everyone around them how much they hate being up at 8:00am.
  • Finally, as I put another post on the Flaneur’s Turtle, I have discovered that the best way to get people to read my posts is to assign my students to read them. And when that stops working, I already have an in-class activity planned:


  1. Krystal Curry says:

    I LOVE THIS BLOG!! I actually read it from bottom to top though.

  2. Trish says:

    Paul, you’ve found you form: the funny bullet-ed list; let’s plan a “Whiteboard Comedy” tour asap before that douche Dane Cook steals the idea.

  3. The Box Wine Debate: A Glass of Class (in a red solo cup)

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