Today in class, I caught a student passing a note. This is a major mistake in my class. For most of you who aren't in the education world, note writing and passing is a prelude to violence. I'm not exaggerating. Most of the interpersonal conflicts and violence in our schools stem from what someone said about someone else and most of that comes from notes that get passed around. Anyway, I made a big fuss about this as I always do. I ranted about how I have said not to do this since the first day of school, and how I shouldn't have to remind anyone every day for seven weeks of what they shouldn't be doing.
The student's argument was that it was not a note. It was a letter. It's a little semantics game that kids like to play when they're caught doing something wrong. I extended my classroom rule to "written correspondence between two or more parties," just to cover myself.
No sooner than I had returned to my trip around the classroom checking on progress, I saw another note being written. I took it away and raised my voice, saying that "I just got done telling you not to do this," when another student said, "Tell him it's not a note. It's a mammogram."
Peals of laughter went through the room. Most of the students and I were beside ourselves. Most of us except for the student who had made the comment, anyway. He had meant to say, "telegram." He still didn't understand what was funny. I explained what a mammogram was, and said, "That's it. No more mammograms in class, either."
Hopefully, they will actually follow this rule.