My sophomores were fried after the four-hour morning block of CAHSEE testing. Some kept testing through lunch and into the middle of class.

My master teacher and I had mercy on them. He’s saving Schindler’s List for later, so I put in a 71-minute documentary on World War II and let them sleep if they wanted to. Of course, I also told them that if they were energetic enough to talk, then they were energetic enough to take notes.

That approach keeps them mostly quiet.

The movie-film ended with about 20 minutes of class to go, and so I let them have a little bit of chill time. My university supervisor would have called it “dead time.” Ugh.

My master teacher was quite a bit savvier. He busted out some classic riddles and mind puzzles.

You throw away my outside, and then you cook my inside. Then, you eat my outside and then throw away my inside. What am I?

I had forgotten this one, but my students got it right. He kept it going until they thought of the answer, and he didn’t accept “I give up.”

You have a 3-gallon container and a 5-gallon container. You have an unlimited supply of water, and you need exactly 4 gallons of it. How do you get it?

He closed with an easier one.

As I dry, I am damper. What am I?

Compared to the other two, this was a piece of cake. Not that cake is the correct answer.

Moral of the story? Never accept “I give up.”

  1. I know the answers, but I’m not about to spoil them. Go ahead and guess, if you want.

  2. These took me some time to figure out, but I have some guesses:

    1. Poultry

    2. Fill the 5 gallon container full, and use it to fill the 3 gallon container full, leaving 2 gallons left in the larger container. Empty the 3 gallon container and pour the remaining 2 gallons into it. Fill the 5 gallon container full, and top off the remaining gallon into the 3 gallon container, leaving exactly 4 gallons left.

    3. A towel

  3. dkzody

    We had short periods in the afternoons, 36 minute periods so the kids didn’t have much time for boredom. I showed the PSAs in my marketing class and of course yearbook is busy finishing the last deadline. Thursday we are back to normal, whatever that is.

  4. The first one is not an animal, though poultry had been my guess, too.

  5. I don’t give up either.


  1. 1 What Makes Two Great, Different Teachers « On the Tenure Track

    […] is authoritarian; the other is easygoing. One establishes her authority through her established Way of Doing Things; the other earns it […]

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