23 February 2009

Guess who's coming to dinner without answers?

Packing up at the end of class and after a brief discussion of whether the movie Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is still relevant today

Lucy: . . . so yes, I think it is.

James: And the attorney general called us cowards and says we can't discuss race honestly in this country. But Miss?

Me: Yup?

James: You have kids, right?

Charles (interrupting): Are they black?

(Class laughs.)

Me: Um, what? (carefully) Noooo . . . why would they be black?

Charles: Just wondering.

James: So how many do you have?

Me: Two. A boy and a girl.

James: What if one of them said they wanted to marry a black person?

Me: Um, it would be fine, as far as that goes.

James: What do you mean?

Me: Well, I can't imagine objecting to someone based on some category like color or religion . . . I trust my kids' taste and selectivity. I'd just want the person they choose to be a kind, compassionate, thinking human being.

James: Welllllllll . . . what if your daughter wanted to marry someone who was black AND a really really really really hard core conservative right winger ?

Me: Wow. Hmmmmm. Let's just say that I might have a problem with one of those categories but that I'd have to reserve judgment . . .

James (laughing): I knew it! You'd object to his being black! (several beats) . . . . . . . sike!!

Me (slowly shaking my head): O, goodness. Yeah, you'd better add "sike." Okay. Moving right along . . .

Charles: What if you just had a black baby?

Me: What? But I don't.

Charles: I know but just what if you just suddenly had a black baby without any warning. What would you name it?

Me: What? There are several problems with this scenario, you realize this, right?

Charles: I know. Just play along. What would you name it?

Me: Um, I don't know. Is it a boy or a girl?

Charles: A girl.

Me: Um, I'd name her Erin.

(Class laughs)

Charles: Why "Erin"?

Me: Because that's what I named my daughter.

Charles: Naw, it has to be a different name.

Me: Um, I don't know.

Charles (smiling and nodding): See? That's why I like you as a teacher. You give me answers I can understand.

13 February 2009

Are left-handed compliments better than no compliments at all? (Probably.)

As we finish watching Katharine Hepburn's character fire Hilary St. George in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Patricia: Miss! That's you!

Me: What?

Patricia: That's just how you act!

Me: Like Sidney Poitier?

Patricia: No! Katharine Hepburn! She's talking all quiet to that woman, and you know she's mad but she never gets loud, she just stays all quiet . . .

Dolores: . . . but you know she means business!

Douglas: Yup. That's you.

Grace: And it's so great because you know she is so mad at that woman and she's just all calm. It's kinda scary.

Me: I guess I'll take that as a compliment. I could do worse.

09 February 2009

Home-schooled college: Where you're a name, not a number (but you might have to sleep on the floor)

Just before class

Audrey (excitedly): Miss Huth! I went to that college open house Sunday and loved it. And I got in!

Me: Congratulations! That's so great! So they had an instant admit thing?

Audrey: Yes. I was so happy there. The campus felt like home.

Me: That's great. I'm so proud of you! So did you get to . . .

Dolores (interrupting, to others): We're going to have college at Miss Huth's house next year.

Me: (distracted): Um, what??

Dolores: We're having college at your house next fall. We do graduate in four months, you know.

Audrey: O goodness.

Me: Exactly. Audrey, I think you're better off at Maria College.

Jessica: Dolores! Honestly. What are you going to study?

Dolores: English, of course!

Me: Hmm. I thought you wanted to study business?

Dolores: That's for later.

Me: So let me get this straight. I'm just going to quit teaching here and open a college in my house?

Dolores: Yup.

Me: Oy. Let me think about this . . . okay. Then tuition will be a million dollars.

Dolores: Okay.

Audrey: That's a little steep for me. Can I pay you a bit at a time?

Katherine: I thought you were already set for college?

Audrey: Oh yeah!

Me: So you're not expecting room and board as well, are you? I mean, I don't have a lot of beds or anything.

Dolores: Well, we got to eat and sleep, right? We'll just do like we do in the City. You know.

Katherine: You know. But I'm not sleeping on my coat!

Dolores: Naw. It's Miss Huth's house. We'll pull the cushions off the couch and sleep on those.

Me: Um, we do that in this city, too, by the way.

Dolores: Oh. Anyway, and you can cook for us, but I'll do the cleaning.

Me: Hmm. Cleaning. Okay. That sounds good. But tuition is still a million.

Audrey: You'd better get a loan, Dolores!