11 June 2010


To Elucidate . . .

Everything is clearer with examples, isn't it?

Last Monday, I shared what "went down" when I tried encouraging my brothers to be "Pink Elephants" in class. Neither of them was too crazy about the idea, which I suppose is all right. It takes a certain attitude to be a happy Pink Elephant, and it's really not for everyone. Those who can't pull it off often end up miserably bearing another label: that of "Teacher's Pet"!

Yes, Teacher's Pet is a Pink Elephant! It all makes sense now, aye? The challenge is to avoid being a Pet who happens to be an Elephant and to be an Elephant who lets the teacher think he is also a Pet!!! (I'm so full of handy hints these days!)

Anyway, here are some examples of students I've had who pulled that delicate balance off, and then some!

3 Pink Elephants
Who Made Me Happy to Be a Teacher

1) Essay (The Empire Strikes Back)

The instruction was to evaluate Luke Skywalker as a "Homeric hero." Does he measure up or fall short?

Most of my girls wrote straight (and straightforward) essays which were technically good, which answered the question, and which proved that they had both grasped the material and appreciated the movie. (Woohoo for Star Wars!)

The Pink Elephant wrote her whole essay as a personal ad for Luke Skywalker, cracking me up with her explanation of why "this teen heartthrob has only one hand to hug you with"! (Yes, I'm still laughing . . . and still impressed by the alliteration!)

2) Oral Report (Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach)

The instruction was to read a novel--any novel--and "sell" it in a presentation to one's classmates.

Most of my girls wrote some notes on an index card or two, and gave straight (and again, straightforward) speeches covering the basics of the books they had picked. A few stood out because of the enthusiasm they showed for the books they were recommending.

The Pink Elephant dressed up as a penguin, said that reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull had inspired her to try to fly, and then balanced belly-down on a chair while some classmates waved paper clouds in the background to show that a flightless bird had indeed learned to take to the air.

3) Class Presentation (Inferno by Dante)

The instruction was to create an interactive circle of hell in their classrooms, which their English teacher and some guest judges from the Faculty Room could wander through, Dante-and-Virgil style. (Think: a theme park with mascots, only evil.)

Most of the rooms just "decorated" accordingly, went crazy with costumes, makeup and props, and generally had a lot of fun with Dante. I don't think any class did badly on this assignment. =P

The Pink Elephant was--ahem!--my homeroom class. Using an old pushcart, some plywood, and a lot of papier mache, they turned Circle V into a theme park ride and ferried their fascinated teacher over the River Styx.

Image Sources: a) The Empire Strikes Back poster, b) Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, c) The Divine Comedy: Inferno by Dante


Belfry Bat said...

you know, that just about made my day. That and Meredith's tag. But that was yesterday...


Paul Stilwell said...

I like the Empire Strikes Back one. Clever.

I was unintentionally the teacher's pet in 11 and 12, and I enjoyed it. Once my English teacher in grade 11 called me to her desk and she put two dots on a piece of paper, not too far from one another. She then said (I'm paraphrasing), "Paul, to get from here to here all one has to do is this." Then she proceeded to draw a straight line from one dot to the other. Then she said, "But this is what you do:" Then she proceeded to scrawl the pencil all over the paper in a contorted mess before finally arriving at the second dot.

I was both disconcerted and filled with pride.

I'm doing my best to win that book.

Fun and Fearless said...

Right. Being a "Pink Elephant" requires a daring attitude which explains why I never got to be one. I used to think that to be a "Pink Elephant" one must risk looking comical, even silly. But that sure worked!

I remember the reporter in our class who discussed a European society. He wore a mustache and put face powder on his hair so he'll look old. He ended up looking like man on the Pringles container though. But the teacher put most of the things from his report in the exam!

Enbrethiliel said...


Bat: Just seeing Meredith made my day!

Paul: Ha! I thought she was going to move the paper so that the dots came together . . . like a tesseract, you know! =P

F&F: Yes, he sounds like a Pink Elephant. Even the other, boring elephants remember one of these!

Sullivan McPig said...

Great stories. I especially like the second one. I would love to have seen it.

Enbrethiliel said...


I'm glad you liked them, Sully. =)

Yes, that second story is completely unforgettable! I first gave an account of it in the Faculty Room, and all the other teachers were delighted.