Teachers Who Prepared Me for the Real World: Prof Pervy & Ms Savage Burns

Humour

Teachers Who Prepared Me for the Real World: Prof Pervy & Ms Savage Burns

Illustration: Ahmed Sikander

As everyone shared mushy memories of teachers who changed their lives on Teachers’ Day last week, I found myself wondering who to thank – my performance in school was below average at best. However, book-smart doesn’t equal street-smart (or so I keep telling myself), and I think the teachers who prepared me for the real world were the ones who never needed things like textbooks, or teaching skills. Now, some may say that life is the greatest teacher of all, but these mentors did a great job in preparing me for life’s classroom.

 

Prof Pervy

 

What he claimed to teach: Biology

What he really taught: The Art of the Double Entendre

“What is a five-letter word that starts with ‘P’ and ends with ‘S’? Hint: It’s related to holes.”

Those were the first words I ever heard my biology teacher speak, and I knew right away these classes would be special. Our bio teacher had figured out a foolproof method to maintain discipline – he’d drop a heavily loaded double entendre on his students and enjoy the sight of them anxiously resisting the urge to say what’s on their mind. To date, I can’t crack a dirty joke without thinking about the time I blurted out “Penis!” eagerly in response to his earlier question. And in case you guys were wondering, the correct answer was “pores”.

 

Ms Geogra-fierce

 

What she claimed to teach: Geography

What she really taught: The Art of Savage Burns

I thought I was being clever when I asked my eighth standard geography teacher if the Mojave Desert was a Native American sweet dish. Little did I know, I was unleashing the most savage tongue in the staff room. Some of her classic put-downs had the quality of being both informative and insulting, like the time she gave us our test results and announced, “There are seven continents, 195 countries, and over a 100,000 islands in this world, and yet all the idiots ended up in this classroom.” It still stings.

“Hey girl, are you Fluorine, Iodine, and Neon all at once? Because you look FINe!” I remember it so well because that was also the first time I wasn’t just rejected, but laughed at until I left the classroom.

 

Sir Over the Hill, On Top of the World

 

What he claimed to teach: Physical Education

What he really taught: The Art of Obliviousness

Our PE sir’s favourite pastime was doling out health advice to all the young students while chowing down on what seemed to be an unlimited supply of vada pav from the school canteen. In a move that scored him maximum points for irony, he would nitpick about how his students weren’t eating a balanced diet while on his fifth samosa of the day.

“I run *loud chewing sounds* 10 kilometres every day and eat a banana every four hours. You should learn something from dedicated people like me,” were his famous opening lines before every class. From him I learned that real happiness is found in fried food.

 

The Pick-up Professor

 

What he claimed to teach: Chemistry

What he really taught: The art of cheesy pick-up lines

What’s more thrilling than a teacher who wilfully declares a free period instead of teaching another boring chapter? The answer, as it turned out, was our Pick-up Professor, who had cracked how to make his chemistry classes memorable. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do the same for the syllabus. While most students from this class fared poorly in chemistry, the Pick-up Professor, however, helped us get over our fear of speaking to girls.

“Sure, humour is great, but have you tried using chemical formulas,” he’d ask. I remember taking that advice and going up to a girl to lay this super cheesy gem on her: “Hey girl, are you Fluorine, Iodine, and Neon all at once? Because you look FINe!” I remember it so well because that was also the first time I wasn’t just rejected, but laughed at until I left the classroom.

These are the lessons that have stayed with me long after I forgot about Pythagorean theorem and Trigonometry. With teachers like these, why would I ever sing, “We Don’t Need No Education…”?

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