Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dumbbell

I am writing this in class. This is made possible by a very cooperative class which is more or less self-propelled, and by my lovely new toy, my MacBook Air. (If you did not already know I am a gadget freak you have not been paying attention.) After my Palm died I got tired of taking work home, and while I had thought about using a laptop I had always been put off by the weight, especially of Mac laptops, which I would prefer to use (for compatibility, for lack of hassle, for lack of downtime, lack of virus threats, etc). Then the MacBook Air came along, but was far too expensive for me. And then, a couple of weeks ago, I bought my MacBook Air at a greatly reduced price, second-hand. I am writing in short bursts between teacherly activities.

They've started some sort of construction work outside this classroom window. Again. How silly. We have four days off next week in which they could be making all this noise and the classrooms would be empty. Went next door to ask another teacher a spelling question, and as I opened his door he said, hopefully,

"You've come to tell me our classes are cancelled, haven't you? I mean, no sensible person would expect us to teach effectively with – "

A loud crash from outside drowned out the rest of his sentence.

"Pardon?" I asked.

"... WITH ALL THIS NOISE!" he bellowed.

"You're absolutely right," I said. "Why don't you go and talk to the boss about it?"

"PARDON?"

I gave up.

"HOW DO YOU SPELL DUMBBELL?" I shouted. "ONE B OR TWO?"

He stared at me.

"ONE. NO ... TWO! NO! HOLD ON, I NEED TO WRITE IT DOWN."

He wrote it down both ways. One b looked wrong, but two didn't look quite right, either, which was pretty much the same thing I'd thought.

"MAYBE IT'S HYPHENATED," he bellowed.

"ALSO, WHAT ARE DUMBBELLS, EXACTLY?" I asked.

"PARDON?"

"WHAT ARE DUMBBELLS?"

He drew a picture on the board.

"REALLY?" I said. "I THOUGHT THOSE WERE WEIGHTS. I THOUGHT DUMBBELLS WERE THE LONG ONES."

"OTHER WAY ROUND!" he shouted.

"ARE YOU SURE?"

"PARDON?"

I went back to my classroom and checked my dictionary again. This time I noticed I'd been searching under 'Thesaurus' and by switching to 'Dictionary' was able to find the correct spelling and also the correct definition. I erased dumbell from my board and rewrote it correctly. I then drew crossing arrows from the pictures of weights and dumbbells to the words, and apologized to the student who had told me I had it the wrong way round. He was right and I was wrong. (This is not nearly as rare in a classroom as teachers would like to think.)

I don't think my student heard my apology, though. I didn't shout loudly enough.





(I have other unfinished bits of blog entries on the new computer which will also eventually make it here. This was the latest one.)

6 comments:

Shyam said...

I thought dumbbells were the short ones - you know, the ones you do arm curls with.

Good to see you back, Badaunt! :)

Curley said...

Congrats! on the Air! aren't they beautiful!

I'd sooner have a new Mac than a new car! any day...

Keera Ann Fox said...

I too thought dumbbells were the short ones for arm curls. Are we sure the dictionary's right?

RachelH said...

Dumbbells are definitely the small ones. The big ones are called barbells.

Badaunt said...

You are all absolutely right - dumbbells are the short ones, and that was what I learned yesterday. I should not post blog entries when I am half asleep!

I've amended it now - and Rachel, thanks for the barbells. I KNEW there was a word for them aside from weights. (So what are weights, then? Is that just a blanket term for both kinds?)

Keera Ann Fox said...

You lived up to the title of the blog post, then. *ducking and running like heck*

"Weights" would be the blanket term, yes, I believe.

BTW, congratulations on the new MacBook Air!