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On Friday I passed out study guides/reviews for this week’s upcoming final exams.  150 questions, multiple choice, with the answers attached.  I told them to be sure to work them over the weekend and ask questions Monday.

Quite a few students asked if I was going to work the problems in class.

No.  I’ll answer specific questions, but I’m not working all the problems.  Wtih 150 questions that would be impractical. 

But…  but… you’re not going to teach us how to do these?

Well, lil’ darlin’s, that’s what I spent the last 175 days doing.  That’s why you took notes.  That’s why you have a textbook. 

But… but… you’re the teacher, teach us how to do this.

You don’t understand.  I’ve already taught you.  Now its your turn.  Show me what you’ve learned.

This isn’t fair.  You HAVE to teach us.

I am teaching you.  I’m teaching you that at some point you have to do it on your own.

How do you do problem number 1?

How do YOU do problem number 1?  If you have a specific question, go ahead and ask.  How do you do the problem is not a specific question.  A specific question is, “when I worked this this is the answer I got.  where did I make a mistake?” 

This isn’t fair.  Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.

I’m going to have give Mr. Johnson a call.  Mr. Johnson is the substitiute I use occasionally during the year.  On days that I don’t feel like teaching I post the following note on the wall:

Hello, my name is Mr. Johnson.  Mr. W wasn’t feeling well and had to go home.  He left work for you.  I am not a math person, I majored in History, so if you have any questions, I can’t help.  Please do your work quietly.  Thanks.

Then I sit at my desk and only answer to the name Mr. Johnson.  I even had the computer tech guy make me an ID badge with the name Mr. Johnson.  The first time I do this it takes the kids awhile to catch on.  Then they’ll kinda play along.

You sure look like Mr. W.  —  Yeah people tell me that all the time.  I’ve got more hair than him though.
Hey, if your a history major, what (random history question)?  — Well, (correct answer to their history question, I mean really, how hard is high  school history?)
The kids will try real hard to trip me up, but I can usually make it through.

If you’re a fellow teacher reading this, Mr/Mrs Johnson comes in handy for those days you just can’t bring yourself to teach.  Try it some time, it can be fun.





  1. Wow that is a real doozy. I’ve never had my high school teachers do that. Usually all it ever took from them was “No.”

    But maybe I just went to a wimp school. We had dance team AND cheerleaders, but no gangs. Oh yeah..and we had goats trying to enter the building once.

  2. I had a teacher, a few actually, with your sense of humor! Those are the teachers I remember too, the ones who reminded us that we are the ones learning and we have to be the ones working too. Those are the teachers whose lessons stuck with me all these years (applicable to daily life even!).

    I had one teacher, his name was Mr. Minnis (got rest his soul, he passed from Diabetes after I graduated). He had a saying for the unprepared in his class (and the school has quoted this many times, as do all of his former students).

    “Looks like we’re up that well known tributary without the proper means of conveyance.”

  3. And I must add I think he was a history teacher too!

  4. ahahahahah Ah youth is wasted on the young – Zman

  5. mr johnson — love your style 🙂 beany

  6. “You have to teach me!!” I’ve heard that from a kid or two…

    I love this idea. I think it would be a lot of fun. (Especially if I try to pass for Mr. Johnson!)

    if you could pull it off with a straight face, being MR. johnson could be really fun.


    It’s along the lines of my “oh look you have a test in your hand…I can’t answer your question…because I have amnesia” reply.


    test amnesia, another classic. along with test deafness…

    i need help with number 3. what?
    i need help with number 3. what?
    i need help with number 3. what?

  8. Can I use this at home… I can be the nanny, or housekeeper, or pet sitter. Whadda ya think?

    Cuz, give it a try, what can it hurt?

  9. I am glad it is lunch time because I am laughing out loud. I also love the comment about said river!

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