Friday, June 20, 2008

in which my students' exuberance cost them $218

Just finished week 1 of my summer session class. The students are great. They're funny and smart—my favorite kind. In this class, Project #1 is a how-to/instructional document. They came up with ideas on Tuesday and started working on it in lab on Wednesday. One student is writing a how-to for Beer Pong—don't laugh (ok, do, because it's funny)—she's on page six and isn't done yet. Hooray! Writing! One student is writing a funny piece about surviving long distance relationships. One student is writing about how to set up an aquarium. One student is writing about how to master the Asian stereotype (he's from Hong Kong). Good stuff. I am really looking forward to reading their drafts tomorrow!

And then there's the fellow who got really excited about his how-to, "How to Fish," that he and another student in the class (who isn't even writing about fishing, but just likes to do it) ran right out and went fishing that evening and took a bunch of photos for the step-by-step procedures.

And along came an officer of the law (not sure yet if city/county/state/forest/etc) and asked them how they were doing, and how many fish they caught. "Two!" they answered, before realizing "oh crap, we don't have a license." One fellow did...last year. The officer started writing them a ticket...for over $500.

They pleaded ignorance of the law, being poor international students, said they were going fishing for a class project, they'll throw the fish back, etc. Hey, I'd have done the same once I realized that my exuberance was going to cost me $500. The officer knocked it down to $109/each, which is doable for them but still really sucky.

The good news is that they were laughing about it, in that "we did a really stupid thing unintentionally, and it's kind of funny in its absurdity" way. I told them to being the ticket to class on Monday because I want to see it—if the have the ablity to fight it in court (and the court is local), I'm going to help them prep something—a pitch, a document, something—to plead their case and see if they can't just get their fine knocked down to the price of a license.

Everything's a teaching moment...

And in this instance it's a teaching moment and really, really funny.