What Did You Say?
(Unbelievable Things That My High School Students Have Said)
This book is a simple collection of the most entertaining and unbelievable things that some of my students have said. I have been teaching various classes of the Biological Sciences at the High School level for 16 years. At the time I began writing the book, I was in the middle of my sixth year of teaching. I originally was going to title the book There IS Such A Thing As A Stupid Question. The reason for that title was that in the majority of my college education courses, I heard over and over again that, “There is no such thing as a stupid question”. That may be true, but I can tell you that some of the questions I have heard are awfully close and quite funny. Now, not all of the quotes I collected over the years were questions; some were just statements. That was the reason for the title change.
Often people will ask me how I got the idea to start writing down what the students would say. I have talked to many educators, well on into their career, who would always say that if they only would’ve written down what they have heard over the years they would have a book as well. This is how it happened. I used to shoot in an indoor archery league with my wife. We shot every Friday evening. Of course part of the fun was to spend time catching up with our friends. We would get there to the shop plenty early and chat for 30 minutes or so before we went to the lanes to shoot. During that time somebody would ask how school was going. I was in the middle of my second year of teaching, so I was very excited to talk to anybody that would listen about my school day. It would usually start of with me saying, “Listen to what this kid said today.” I would give a little set up, tell the story and we would share a laugh. As time went on, it got to be a regular thing. Someone would say, “Ok Grip, what did they say this week?” I would then go into my mini-standup routine, make everyone laugh, and then we would go shoot. As I recall, I was in the midst of a day of multiple, astonishingly dense statements and questions. While in the middle of marveling at a particular set of words of wisdom, I had this thought, “I am never going to remember all these come Friday. I have to start writing these down”. BING! The light bulb went off, and the idea for the book was born.
As time went on and I would hear quotes that I deemed “book worthy”, I would jot them down on a legal pad. Some of these quotes are aided in their humor by what I had to say in response, so I have included a few of those as well. Of course my students knew about “Grippa’s book of stupid sayings”, and would frequently ask to hear a few or could read them themselves. I usually would keep my notes hidden and tell the students that if I let them see the book, it would ruin the surprise, and I would continue to collect. I felt it added to the mystery of what I had written down.
By the time I wrote down the 175th quote, I thought I had enough material to begin typing them up. These are not the stereotypical or well-known teenage phrases. You won’t read about how many times students “forgot” their book, or how many times they say “like”, or “dude.” (I lost count). These are truly original works of art. You can’t make this stuff up.