March 03, 2004
No harm done

I'm in two minds about this report. Is this good teaching, or not? I'm inclined to think that maybe it is rather good teaching. What do you reckon?

A 17-year-old boy jumped out of a second-floor window at Miami Beach High last week after betting his teacher he was strong enough to do it and not get hurt.

He won the bet, landing unharmed. No immediate word on whether he got any money out of it.

The teacher has been reassigned to a non-teaching job at a regional ACCESS Center while police and school officials investigate the incident.

The science class was in the middle of a lecture on evolution on Wednesday when the student -- whose name was not released -- began talking about jumping out the window to prove his point, according to the police report.

The teacher, Yrvan Tassy Jr., bet him $20 that he would hurt himself if he jumped, police said.

Yes, I suppose this is not really how teachers should conduct themselves. But I can't help thinking that (a) since the boy won his bet and was indeed undamaged, there was no harm done, but that if (b) he had been damaged, that would have been a valuable lesson for the lad which would have stood him in good stead in the future.

My thanks to the newly located Dave Barry for the link. And for this comment, from someone called Ivoirienne:

I fail to see why the teacher is being investigated for encouraging the scientific testing of his hypothesis. This is purely in line with the education principals of critical thinking and experimentation.

Besides, I've had several students I would love to make this sort of bet with. I've simply been prevented from doing so by the fact that I teach in a windowless grey box.

Probably just as well. And a certain Sean explains it all thus:

Can't you just see how this really happened though?

The teacher is doing the class teaching thing and the kid interrupts with some inane comment about jumping out the window. Teacher, being frustrated by the interruption, figures the kid is full of sh&t and says , 'whatever, an exploding $20 says you hurt yourself if you do it.

Kid jumps and teacher stands there dumbfounded watching his career go out the window.

Yes that's probably how it all happened.

I don't understand the relevance of the "exploding" bit, but the link will make a nice posting on White Rose, where RFID is a four letter word that is intensely disapproved of.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 01:05 AM
Category: How to teach