(Fire alarm rings as the class is two paragraphs into a four-page New York Times article about Berea College, a Kentucky college that provides free tuition to its low-income students )
Various student voices: Oh, thank goodness! About time! Woo hoo!
Me: Hey! I'm right here!
James: We're too tired to suck up right now.
Me: Hmmm. Too bad.
(Later, the fire drill over, the article read and written about)
Me: So did anyone write that they'd be interested in going to Berea?
Darren: I wouldn't go there. The education isn't good.
Me: The article doesn't discuss that, but why do you think this?
Darren: If the education is free, then it can't be worth anything.
Me: So. If I gave you a Jaguar, you'd turn it down?
Me: If I gave you a fancy car like a Jaguar, you'd turn it down because it wouldn't be worth anything?
Darren: No, that doesn't make sense.
Me: Exactly. The Jag still costs a lot of money and is valuable, but I'm giving it to you. I'm just not making you pay for it. The free tuition is a gift to you. Just because it's a gift and doesn't cost you anything doesn't mean it's not valuable.
Darren: Ohhh. I guess. That makes sense.
Me: That's why I get the big bucks.
John (quietly to Donald ): You know, I bet she does.
Me: Only some days . . .
(In the hall)
Student: Did you hear about that fire last night?
Other student: Yeah! I heard the sirens!
Student: It was on my street. Man, seeing that house burn was hot!
(As the New York Times articles are being distributed)
Audrey: Miss? Are we reading New York Times articles as punishment? You said that last year's class had to read these after they lost all your books.
Me: Of course not! You haven't lost my books yet, so this is fun, not punishment.