Thursday 2 December 2010

Things I Learned From My Students #9: Snow

The UK is currently the laughing stock of the best part of Europe and North America, as we've had some snow and ground to a halt. In fairness to us, snow like this is the sort of thing for which we're about as prepared as Toronto is for a plague of frogs, due to its rarity. On the other hand, you'd think if you got a plague of frogs three years running around about the time that plagues of frogs were most likely, that you might start planning for the increased chances of being plagued by frogs.

Anyway, London only just got the snow today, and it's not bad enough to close the college. So it was on with the hiking boots to brave the treacherous two-minute walk along the ungritted road to work. And on with a few more revelations.

  1. It takes a special sort of teacher to leave the windows open in the biology lab over the weekend, rendering the internal climate positively Siberian (this was NOT me).
  2. No matter how cold the students are, they are never cold enough to take you up on the offer to put a lab coat on as another layer.
  3. Edexcel doesn't think it's worth teaching students about competitive and non-competitive inhibition anymore.
  4. Despite nearly 30 years of public outreach and education on this matter, students still think that HIV came from people having sex with monkeys.
  5. None of them had ever heard of a dental dam.
  6. Yet one of them has a fleshlight called Mirabel.
  7. They think that Coxsackieviruses are the best thing ever.
  8. Until they hear about Cummingtonite, that is.
  9. People who named towns in New England were well kinky.
  10. You never want to spot a student googling for "reason for late period".
  11. The fake foam rock stress toy I got from Blackwell Scientific a few years ago as a promo gift is more realistic than I had ever realised...
  12. The little bugger who threw the snowball through the staffroom window (open 3") to hit my desk this morning should be automatically presented with an A* in mechanics as they have an absolute mastery of projectiles.
There's a very definite "inappropriate" theme to this one. I put it down to covering disease transmission in A2 biology, physiology of the endocrine system in BTEC and the presence of a large student union-run awareness campaign around World AIDS Day. It's just been condoms a-go-go all week.


  1. Re. cummingtonite: Tell 'em about monroes- if they like the mineral name, they'll love geological boobs. This illustration was in my sedimentary depositional environments text, but I can't find a better or larger one online, and I don't have access to the full-size photo.

  2. That is a superb illustration, and one I imagine my class of predominantly 18-19 year old males will absolutely adore.


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