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High School Teachers Giving Permission

Updated on April 19, 2015
sholland10 profile image

Susan has been a high school teacher for 26 years. She has an BSEd in Elementary Education and a MSEd in Secondary Education and English.

When I was in college, I felt like I was walking into hell when I stepped into my required philosophy class. I even went to the head of the education department to complain that it was a waste of time. Empirical evidence, metaphysical evidence, blah, blah, blah. I absolutely did not see any reason for learning about these things.

Then, I became a high school teacher. Why should that change my mind about a college class I despised? Easy… that class taught me how to deal with all types of arguments and philosophies.

Working with teenagers, I quickly found they could argue with a wall and convince me that the sun rose in the west and set in the east. Oh yes, they are that GOOD! I should have realized that was the purpose of the class since I was the smart aleck and arguing student who constantly wanted to throw my teachers off task (I have apologized to all of them since becoming a teacher).

Anyway, I am one of those teachers who wants to teach and fly under the radar as far as administration goes. In other words, do a good job so the bosses will not ask questions. I follow school rules, I enforce rules in my classroom, and I try to make sure students leave my class with the skills they will need for their next step in school or college or life in general. I try not to send them to the office. Only if there is no other alternative will I send a kid to the principal's office.

Sense of Humor in the Classroom

One year, I was teaching sophomores. My favorite class had three boys who constantly wanted to throw me off track, and the class loved it. Sometimes, I would let this type of behavior pass because the boys were good kids and never inappropriate, and it made class fun. Of course, I never let them off the hook for their assignments, and I insisted they understand what they were doing before I allowed interruptions. The boys respected me and understood where the line was drawn in the sand, or so I thought.

One of the boys, Cody, had a deep Southern accent, which I am not sure how that happened because he grew up in Southwest Missouri just like me. He was funny and clever. His buddy, Jonas, was laid back with a dry sense of humor. The third buddy, Justin, was the “rocker” who was extremely respectful and charming.

The Hook

“Hey, Mrs. H, can we have a couch in here?” Cody asked one day.

“Well, Cody, I don’t have a couch to put in the room.” I replied, not realizing I was being set up.

Jonas said, “Oh, that’s all right. Justin has a couch.”

Justin nodded and said, “My mom would love you forever if you let us bring it in.”

I said, “Well, I don’t know. I am not sure administration would like it.”

All three of them start in at once with, “Oh come on!” “Who cares what they want?” “Why would a couch be a problem with them?” Typical teenage arguments.

I decided the “wise” thing to do was put it back on them.

“All right, all right,” I said. “If you can get it passed the administration, I am fine with it. But, you have to run it by them first.” I thought my instructions were very clear.

The Deed is Done

The next day I came in and there was a couch in the back of my room. The boys eventually came in, and they were heroes in the eyes of their peers. I said, “So the administration approved?”

Cody pipes up, “You said we had to get it passed them, so we did.”

“What do you mean?” I asked with a demanding tone.

“Well,” in his slow Southern drawl, “we came at 5:30 this morning, the janitors let us in, and the administrators weren’t here.”

“Cody!” I squawked.

The other boys gave low giggles. I had been had. My head turned at the speed of a bullet to look at Jonas and Justin. They stopped giggling but there was still laughter in their eyes.

Jonas said, “You said get it passed the administration, and so we did.”

“You boys know what I meant.” I said. My philosophy class was coming back to me. Damn that empirical evidence part of the argument. I totally screwed that up.

“You said run it passed them, so we did. We ran it passed their offices,” said charming, Justin.

“Oh brother!” I said. By this time, the humor was bubbling up inside of me. What sharp kids, and I did it to myself.

They were so proud of themselves. I could only stand in amazement. Then I had to laugh at them and myself.

The lesson learned: Be very careful how you word instructions to teenagers. My philosophy class really came crashing down on my head over that incident. I also had a much greater appreciation for philosophical arguments because teens can twist any words and can bring up the most minute things in a passage or discussion.

Students will keep you on your toes. I love my teaching job! Always something new and never dull.

In conclusion, the administrators thought the boys were pretty clever and they were fine with me having a couch in my room. Whew!

© 2011 Susan Holland


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    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Hi KTrapp! I do love kids, especially the funny ones who keep it interesting. It is different when they are just trying to antagonize the teacher, but these boys were great kids who liked the class. Fond memories because they made each day new, and they included everyone whether they were shy or didn't feel they fit in with others. I love kids who try to make everyone, including the teacher, laugh and feel part of the group. And, of course, they were heros after the couch incident. LOL

      Thanks so much for dropping by! :-)

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      You just have to love kids. I was never the funny one like those three boys, but I always enjoyed the antics of others. How lucky they all were to have a teacher with you with a sense of humor.

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Cardelean, don't worry too much. Those guys are very successful young men today because of their intelligence and people skills. You are going to enjoy the time you have with you son because of the laughter he will bring you not just during his teen years but for all the years that follow. Both my children are out of high school and very much like the three in the story, and they are the joy of my life. :-) Oh, and those boys never took things too far, except talking too much in class. lol Thanks so much for dropping by!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      HI GISELLE! I wouldn't have wanted to get into trouble for it either. I would have come clean with administration if they came in and didn't like it. As the teacher, it would have been my responsibility and fault for allowing it. I knew that as soon as I walked into my classroom and saw the couch. LOL So glad to see you! Thanks for dropping by! :-)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      B and Emily, I am glad you liked the story and it brought up good memories. It was funny, and I loved having those characters in class because they fit with my sense of humor. I guess if you have a teacher with no sense of humor, you might want to tread lightly. LOL Thanks for dropping by and reading and voting! :-)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      SG, my daughter was worse than my son. LOL She hates that I have so much time and experience with teenagers because I tell her, "I'm on to you." LOL Teens keep me on my toes at school and at home (though I am pretty much an empty nester now). Thanks for dropping by and voting! :-)

    • cardelean profile image


      7 years ago from Michigan

      That was a great story! I can remember some of the guys from my high school classes that would have fit in perfectly with those three. Unfortunately one of them is now my brother in law and my son has inherited his sense of humor and his craftiness! I know that I will be in for some phone calls from teachers in his future!

    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 

      7 years ago

      Hilarious! Glad it had a good ending too - I would not have wanted to see you get in trouble for that! Thanks for sharing your experience in this enlightening, yet humorous manner.

    • emilybee profile image


      7 years ago

      That is so funny. Sounds like kids I've had class with, little pranksters :) Great hub! Funny, awesome and up.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      7 years ago from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

      I enjoyed the funny anecdote about the students who wanted a couch. It reminds me of phone pranks some of my smartalecky school friends pulled when I was around 12 or 13.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      7 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Great story! Teen-agers are the best and "twisting" your words. I have raised 2 of those little buggers! One boy and one girl. The girl was no better than the boy! :) Great hub, voted up and funny and useful! :)

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Thanks PMommy! The kids are so intelligent, and it is fun to get into their word-play now that I know I need to pull out some tips from my philosopy class. LOL I am not so easy to get around today as I used to be. Live and learn...

      Thanks for dropping by, reading, and voting!! :-)

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      Funny story! I bet all teachers have a similar experience with crafty students. I taught Language Arts, and my students were always trying to be 'artistic' with their words and meanings..Voted up!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      RH, now, THAT is a funny story!! LOL Seriously, this couch was from someone's basement, and I did not want to touch it. I got a big throw blanket that never stayed on it after the kids would come in and sit on it throughout the day. I would take the throw home to wash, but I avoided touching the actual couch. LOL

      Thanks for dropping by and reading!!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      7 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Too funny Sholland! I had a feeling:) haha!

      My husband used to have a leather couch in his last office job....I was interested...why you need that? I asked....I teased him "is it in case you get a headache?" or maybe the ladies need some where to rest? Haha! One day as he was leaving my 3 year old watched him out the window...she yelled "bye!" real loud .... And then shouted her words of wisdom "no playing on that couch today daddy!". Hahahahahahaha!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Crobin, I am glad you are inspired. I will be headed your way. Thanks for reading! :-)

    • Crobin28 profile image


      7 years ago from Pelham, Alabama

      I was in the middle of replying when I realized, "I just got a great idea!" Follow me so you can see what the idea is! You inspired me and I don't even know you! HAHA!

    • sholland10 profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Holland 

      7 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      Hey Jbern and Crobin,

      There have been lots of funny moments like this one. Something new everyday.

      And, yes, Crobin, it has been an eye-opener. When I look back, that philosophy class has been the most useful class for my career.

      Thanks for dropping by!! :-)

    • Crobin28 profile image


      7 years ago from Pelham, Alabama

      Very funny! I wish I would have been clever like them in High School! Thanks for the Philosophy Class tip! I'll remember that next semester!!

    • Jbern117 profile image


      7 years ago from Dunmore, PA

      That sounds exactly like something that would happen at my high school! Funny story!


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