Unorthodox Problem Solving

With alarming frequency, big, terrifying kafka-esque bugs get into my classroom. However, this is neither metamorphosis nor metaphor. We’re talking about the real-deal, multi-legged, blood-sucking, ear-buzzing, skitter-across-the-wall kind of bugs. In case you cannot tell, I don’t like bugs…  at least not inside. If they’re outside (where they belong) that’s fine, but when they start coming in our classrooms and sucking our blood while we’re just trying to do our job, something has got to be done.

So, recently, in a fit of frustration/weirdness/reluctance-to-clean-up-an-icky-smushed-mosquito,

I decided that I would publicize my zero-tolerance-for-bugs policy to the insect population at large…

(Sticky notes are poster-sized when you’re an insect.)

While my students have found this equal parts hysterical and disturbing, and while you can say what you will about my sanity levels . . . there have been remarkably fewer bugs in my classroom lately. 


As a high school French teacher,

I am occasionally devoted to my work to a fault. Halloween is usually a prime example of said ridiculous over-devotion . . . Every year, we teachers attempt to dress in ridiculous costumes for the general amusement, entertainment and edification of our students. I see it as a personal challenge to make my costume relate to French in some way.

Example: Once, I dressed up as Marie Antoinette…

That year I brought cake for all my classes and let them eat it.

This year I had a plan, or at least an inspirationBut, thanks to Sandy, I was thwarted in my super-secret costume plans by delayed shipping, and thus found myself doing a last-minute scramble to gear up for Halloween. In attempting to root out the absolute best last-minute costume for this year in the absolute last few minutes, I entertained a multitude of ideas. In the end, however, I wound up returning to the world of internet memes where my classes had recently forayed. It was 8pm when I decided to do the unthinkable; be the ERMAHGERD girl. . . en français.

For those of you who might be unfamiliar (and don’t want to follow the link to the world of internet memes to find an explanation) I will share with you explanation . . . A “meme” is a term with a lot of nuanced definition you can look up that today often refers to a picture that becomes hugely popular on the internet (i.e. goes viral). These images are often given a variety of subtitles and often doctored (for better or worse). Now, meme pictures often convey a specific look/feel that add to the words in some way. Enter the EHRMAHGERD girl. Her extremely-awkward photo became the basis for a series of memes that highlights the mispronunciation of “Oh My God”, usually accompanying some fairly ridicule-worthy-yet-appreciate-able images. Typically, this strain of meme is used to illustrate overly-enthusiastic or extreme reactionary expressions to something average (as far as I can tell). A few weeks/months ago, my students and I decided to translate the pheMEMEnon, and wound up with ERMERNDIEUR . . .

Anyhow, now that we’ve got all explanations covered, you should know that my late-night choice left me just enough time to run out to Savers  for an awkward pair of pants and a vest before they closed at nine. After a half hour of searching, a somewhat-dubious-moi paid the cashier for some of the ugliest clothing I had ever seen. Actually, the Savers Cashier ended up being highly encouraging  (“You’re going to be the ERMAHGERD GIRL?! That’s awesome! I wish you were my teacher!”), so bolstered by her enthusiasm, I went home and used glue-sticks, cardboard, and anything else I could find to perfect the outfit.

Several hot-glue-burns later (aka, MUCH later), I was


This morning, I arrived at work as one seriously tired meme (double entendre INTENDED).

(And, yes, I do have French Goose Bumps Books, Aherm, I mean “Chair de Poule”.)

So, when we compare, not too shabby for the last minute, ay?

Well, at least not unintentionally too shabby. I hope you all had as much fun costuming, and I think I’ve earned the right to wish you all a