Fool, Wise Fool, “Playing the fool” / Tales Out of School

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Fool, Wise Fool, “Playing the fool” / Tales Out of School

One afternoon students gathered at the one little window in my room, watching snow fall and complaining that they weren’t being sent home early. Logical argument that leaving at that moment, before streets were cleared, would be unsafe. Finally, I sighed and said, “I just hope it clears enough to send you home at the end of the school day. If it’s not safe, we might have to spend the night.” In answer to their protests, I pointed out that the cafeteria had food and then elaborated by saying there was an emergency supply of cots in a storeroom. “We’ll be okay, but I would prefer going home tonight.”
They stopped worrying about early dismissal, and settled down to work.

I once told my students about the lake we used to have outside our high school, and the geese who flew off with it when it froze suddenly. They doubted me (imagine!) until I told them they could check with assistant principal who was there at the time . . . I’m not sure they ever dared to ask him.

I told a student to stop “acting the fool,” and he stormed away in fury. I feared I may have inappropriately adopted vernacular not my own. (A sweet young student told me once that her mother would never let her say “fixin’ to” as I had just done). I called his parents to help ease any problems, and the father started laughing. Just the night before, he had lectured his son that “if you act the fool, that’s how people will see you.” He had even made his son look up “fool” in the dictionary.

Then there are all the stories of the wise fool, staple of so many cultures. On a flight home from Istanbul, a Chinese medical student sat next to me. She had no entertaining books, so I offered her my brand new book of Hoja tales, just purchased in Turkey. After looking at a few, she said, “but these are Chinese stories.” I had already noticed the commonality with some Jewish stories. Stories travel widely, and as Howard Schwartz says, “take root” in new places.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sue Kuentz
    Apr 07, 2015 @ 09:10:02

    I bet the high school students weren’t fooled by you for one moment (except when they listened to your stories!) Wish my boys would have had you as one of their teachers!

    Reply

  2. Lanise Brown
    Apr 09, 2015 @ 03:57:04

    Oh, that’s a good one to get the kids to buckle down on a snow day, lol.

    Reply

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