Miss Communication

Joel A By Joel A, 5th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/14k6kfd1/
Posted in Wikinut>Humour>Funny Stories

The painful experience of trying to explain irony to a sensitive student.

It all started so well

‘Any questions,’ I asked. I had three minutes until the bell, and needed something that could keep them occupied for a few minutes. ‘Did everyone understand the lesson?’
 There was silence.
 Someone coughed.
I think some tumbleweed might have rolled past the windows.
 Then, in the corner of my eye, I spotted a small hand shyly raised up. The skinny elbow beneath that hand locked, and I spotted a tiny kid hidden behind the blonde lump that called itself John.
 ‘Yes?’ I smiled in the kid’s direction. John, confused by both the smile and my gaze in his direction, panicked and trotted out – parrot fashion – his most devastating piece of witty repartee, guaranteed to befuddle teachers and kids alike.
‘What’re you looking at me for? I didn’t do it,’ he muttered.
‘Do what John?’ I asked.
‘Whatever you think I did. Cos I didn’t. Do it I mean,’ he grunted. He stared at me for a few seconds, his mind clearly struggling, and burning its last two brain cells for fuel. Then, tired from the cerebral effort involved in any sort of thinking, he slumped into his chair and deflated into a uniformed, red-faced blancmange.
As he sunk, the scrubbed features of the kid with his… I quickly corrected my first impressions… her hands up finally came into view.

The Million Dollar Question

'What is irony?' She asked.
I smiled.
I smiled because it was an intelligent question.
I resisted the urge to caper, dance, and give her thirty-eight merits for asking something both intelligent and relevant.
'Irony occurs when the normal expectations are circumvented and the unexpected takes place instead,’ I told her.
She scratched her head and frowned. I found myself mirroring the expression.
Okay, let's try again.
 'You see, irony is kind of like when you know something is supposed to happen, and then it doesn't,' I felt a swell of pride as her face lit up in comprehension.
‘So it’s like a surprise,’ she said.
‘Yes,’ I grinned.
‘A rubbish surprise.’ She added.
‘Yes…’ the swell of pride that I had felt so briefly began to slowly circle the drain. ‘No. Not at all. It doesn’t have to be rubbish.’
‘Sounds rubbish…’ She countered.
‘Okay, wait a second.’ I stepped back and bit a lip in both consternation and concentration. This was a simple concept. I understand it. Anyone could understand it. So why couldn’t I explain it?
‘Imagine a man falling off a building,’ I started, and then panicked at the look of concern and sadness on her face. ‘No, no, he survives.’ I quickly added.
‘He survives?’ Her little voice was filled with hope and relief.
‘Yes,’ I continued. He survives the fall. But then he gets run over by an ambulance.’
Her face crumpled, and I rushed to make my point before the flood of tears overcame her ability to understand. ‘That’s irony, you see. Because the ambulance is supposed to save people, and instead it hurts the man…’
‘It kills the man!’ She burst into tears.
‘Yes, yes, it kills the man. Which is sad. But it’s also ironic. Okay? That’s irony.’ I leaned back; both disgusted at myself and satisfied at the same time.
The bell rang. I dismissed the class and did my best to pretend that I couldn’t see the poor little girl crying her eyes out. The classroom emptied. I looked up and she was still there, crying.
‘There there,’ I said, from the comforting distance of ten feet, and then fled the classroom.


Communication, Define Irony, Irony, Teacher, Teachers, Teaching, Teaching Children, Teaching Methods

Meet the author

author avatar Joel A
A writer and educator on the front lines of the daily academic grind. A lover of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Claim to fame: have shared beers with David Gemmell, Terry Pratchett, & Chad Kroeger.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
14th Oct 2014 (#)

Tough on kids the realities of a world we invite them to be part of - siva

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