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Lies My Teacher Told Me

   Discussion: Lies My Teacher Told Me
Gordondon son of Ethelred · 18 years ago
I've had this idea for a book since college. It is called Lies My Teacher Told me. It consists of things that you were taught where the teacher was totally wrong. It is even better if they were corrected and refused to accept it. Here are a few examples that I've either collected or that my own teachers told me.

  • Pi exactly eqauls 22/7
  • The number of grains on the sand at the beach is infinite because there are too many to count.
  • Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are parts of the same book. I think that was an actual lie and the teacher knew better. She made some reference to one of the books and attributed it to the other. I corrected her and her response was to say they were the same book.
  • The reason it is cold in the winter is because that is when the earth is furthest from the sun.
  • The reason there are potholes is because ice expands when it melts. This is perhaps myalltime favorite because of the discussion that followed. It happened in my friend's driver's ed class. She told the teacher that he had it backwards that water expands when it freezes. He said, "don't argue with me, I'm a Junior High School science teacher." When she told me the story my other friend came up with the proper response. "Oh that explains it."

You get the idea. These are not opinions or grey areas. These are out and out falsehoods. Do you have any good stories like this to share?
J. Andrew World Back · 18 years ago
Gordon said: "The reason it is cold in the winter is because that is when the earth is furthest from the sun."

Wait that isn't true?
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years ago
Nope, Perihelion, when the earth is closest to the sun is in January. It is cold in winter because that's when the northern hemisphere points away from the sun. It is summer in the southern hemisphere then.
J. Andrew World Back · 18 years ago
Doesn't that mean that they didn't lie?
A girl named Becca Back · 18 years ago
No, they did lie (or were wrong) because they said that during the winter the earth is furthest from the sun. If that were true, the whole earth would have to have winter at the same time, whereas actually the northern and southern hemispheres have opposite seasons. The reason we have winter now is that we have sunlight for such a short amount of time during the day, and that is due to the tilt of the earth's axis, not to our distance from the sun.
dgodwin Back · 18 years ago
In the Northern Hemisphere, we're actually closest to the sun during the winter. The reason it's colder has to do with the angle the sun hits the northern latitudes. We (northern hemisphere folks) get less direct sunlight, as the sun hits at a lower angle during the winter months. We also get less of it. This is all due to the tilt of the Earth. That's what causes the seasons. The closeness of the Sun has nothing to do with it.
A girl named Becca Back · 18 years ago
"Of course, Ukraine isn't a current country." -8th-grade math teacher, 1996-97

I contested that, but he didn't believe me. So I went home, logged onto AOL with my 14400 bps dial-up modem, searched for the Ukranian embassy, e-mailed a guy who worked there, and printed out his reply to bring in to the teacher to prove him wrong. Then he backed down. :)
Phoenix Back · 18 years ago
Well done!

He was probably Russian :D

(Russia usually tried to annex the Ukraine whenever possible)
A girl named Becca Back · 18 years ago
Well, I think he was actually of German descent...

He also thought the whole thing was so cool that he saved that e-mail and told the story to classes for years to come. :D
Phoenix Back · 18 years ago

Probably an ethnic German from Russia who immigrated to teh U.S. :D
Alex Ruben · 18 years ago
Lies My Teacher Told Me is the title of a widely-acclaimed critique of contemporary American history textbooks written by Dr James W Lowen.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years ago
I meant to mention that. I've read it. I found it very disappointing. It wasn't really about lies but the spin put on the stories.
sheryls · 18 years ago
..ever catching a teacher in a grand misconception like that, but here's one of my funny schooltime stories:

in the 3rd grade one of my earrings fell out and i couldnt get it back in. i asked the school secretary to help me and she said she couldn't. "i'm squeamish" she told me.

I went home and told my mom i couldnt get my earring back in, and that i'd asked the secretary to help me, but she couldn't because she was Swedish.

Andrea Krause Back · 18 years ago
tangent - you're one of the few girls I've met who had ears pierced as a kid like me.
sheryls Back · 18 years ago

i got 'em when i was 5. that's a funny story too. we were at the mall and i remember, we passed by the earring tree. my mom asked me if i wanted my ears pierced. i was like hellyeah!

then i sat on the stool..girl got out a gun..i still didnt even think and then CACHUNK. i *FREAKED* out. no one told me it was gonna *hurt*.

i totally wigged and wouldnt let the girl pierce the other one. my parents had to walk me around the mall for another hour to talk me into getting the second piercing :D

Andrea Krause Back · 18 years ago
Heheh I don't remember getting them pierced. I know I had 'em at least by age 6 and I recall someone in my family saying I was 2 when I got them but I don't remember.

What sucked is my ears are SO sensitive so they were always getting infected but my mom would keep putting earrings on me. So I was always ripping my ears apart to the point of bleeding in school. Fun times!
sheryls Back · 18 years ago

my ears get infected real easily too, but here's the weird thing .my mom will pierce our ears with a sewing needle if we ask. she doesnt mind.

my first ones i got with a gun and they were fine. my second holes i got done with a gun, and they got so infected they closed. i got them redone and they got infected and closed. my mom redid them with a needle and they've been perfect ever since o.O

my third holes i got done with a gun, and only the left one closed up. i also had a cartilidge piercing that got really infected and left a small cyst on the back of my ear. so now i have 5 holes o.O

my tongue piercing also got infected and had to be removed. i've decided i'm not cut out for body modifications :P i dont ever want tatoos - if they get infected they'll look permanently stupid.

sheryls Back · 18 years ago
did you ever try small gold hoops? my mom always made us wear small, real gold hoops (that have rounded wire that goes through your ears, not posts) - the sort that are sorta hard to close but rarely open once you always seemed to let the infection heal up and keep the piercing open nicely. and you could sleep in them.
Andrea Krause Back · 18 years ago
Gold? Ew. :) I would never wear gold when I was younger because it's fugly. Didn't know until later it could be white. And nowadays, my ears are less sensitive so I don't bother. Which is good, because I make most of the earrings I wear and I sure wouldn't want to pay for gold components. :)
sheryls Back · 18 years ago

oh good :) i'm glad you dont get them anymore.

i wore gold when i was that young because i didnt realize i had a preference till i was a teenager :P although the pair i had were so small you'd barely even see 'em. i'd probably still wear them when my piercings get infected if i still had them. it did seem to work like a charm.

Sara Woodward Back · 18 years ago
i got mine pierced when i was six. i begged. it took a while for my parents to agree, and basically they bribed me to get my hair cut with getting my ears pierced. even at that age, i knew hair would grow back, but ear piercings are forever, so it seemed like a good deal to me.

for some reason, that night my mom took one of the earrings out. i don't remember why, but i do remember knowing that i had to get her to put it back in or it'd grow shut. it hurt worse for her to finally get it back through the hole than it did to get them pierced in the first place.
sheryls Back · 18 years ago

huh! i wonder why she'd do that! that's odd o.O

my mother wrenched my tongue stud out, but mostly because i got really sick from it. that, and she'd called me a "disgrace to the family" because of it :P

Phoenix Back · 18 years ago
hahaha. That reminds me of First Contact:

"Borg? Sounds Swedish." - Lily Sloane to Jean-Luc Picard

"Definetly not Swedish" - Lily Sloane after she saw Borg drones

iPauley Back · 18 years ago
*snicker* Count on Reinhard to bring the Trek references. :-D


-- Pauley
Phoenix Back · 18 years ago
Hee likewise!
lawrence · 18 years ago
there was a chemistry/physics teacher at my high school (a science magnet school, no less!) who insisted that when you spread your arms, you would weigh more, because there was more surface area for the gravity to act on.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years ago
Well it was a magnet school not a gravity school.
That is actually a good one. I'm adding that to my list.
caroline: tired. · 18 years ago
"musicians have no common sense." -my french teacher.

nate... Back · 18 years ago
You sure the teacher didn't say "common scents"? Cuz that would've made sense. :)

Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years ago
No it was "common cents." Everyone knows musicians don't have any money.
caroline: tired. Back · 18 years ago
It's true.
sheryls Back · 18 years ago
how do you get a musician off your doorstep?
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years ago
I don't know. How?
sheryls Back · 18 years ago

pay him for the pizza!


nate... Back · 18 years ago
What do you call a guy who's always hanging around with musicians?

Phoenix Back · 18 years ago
Gordon :D
nate... Back · 18 years ago
Okay... so there's more than one correct answer. :D

But the one I was going for was, "A drummer".

Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years ago
OK so you want drummer jokes:

What do you call a beautiful woman on the arm of a drummer?
A tatoo

What is the difference between a large pizza and a drummer?
A large pizza can feed a family of four.

What is the difference between a U.S. Savings Bond and a drummer?
A Bond will eventually mature.

What do you call a drummer in a suit?
The defendent.

Those are all courtesy of Amy Rigby.

And no, I have not hung out with Amy.
Rachel Marie aka RAI Back · 18 years ago
You don't have my favorite!

How do you know if a band's stage is even?
The drummer drools out of both sides of his mouth.
Phoenix Back · 18 years ago
*dies of the laughing*

Thanks for sharing ;)
Real-Accordion! · 18 years ago
The Inuit were once the Beothuk, but moved to the mainland and changed their name.

Newfoundland is a maritime. (It's an atlantic province.)
renita Back · 18 years ago

um. sure, that's why the Inuit speak a different language than Beothuk did, when they moved it was because they needed to make a *big* change :p
Real-Accordion! Back · 18 years ago
It was involved in two questions on the final exam.
I refused to answer them.
Talcott · 18 years ago
The most obvious one that comes to mind is the whole "Eskimos have 32 words for snow" thing.

"'Ain't' isn't a word."

Just about everything we were taught about drugs in D.A.R.E./health class (pre-high school, we had a younger, more honest health teacher in high school)

That poetry had to be "understood".
Phoenix Back · 18 years ago
"Eskimos have 32 words for snow" thing

That's bad in two way since Eskimos is derogatory and it should be Inuit in the first place ;)
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years ago
Eskimo is in fact the only word that describes the aboriginal people that live in far north of North America. Inuit is not an inclusive term for all of them. There are Eskimos in Alaska that are not Inuit. I can never remember the name of the other group.

I'm not really sure if it is derogatory. It does mean "blubber eaters" which is a term given them by outsiders but is really more descriptive than derogatory. We call many people by names given them by outsiders. Everybody has a different name for the Germans.
renita Back · 18 years ago
that's actually a disputed etymology.

no one is really sure where it came from, the french, the spanish or the mick mack.

one fairly substantial theory is that it's based on "snowshoe tyer" in some way.
Wintress Back · 18 years ago

Aleut? Inupiaq?

Or the "Indian" tribes, such as Salchaket, Athabascan, Tlingit, etc?

My Eskimo friend ( who does, btw, live occasionally in her Eskimo village north of the Arctic Circle) is  Inupiaq, if I remember correctly. I don't think I've ever heard her say anything about the word "Eskimo" being derogatory. I can't remember just how many words that particular language has for "snow," though. But I could ask. :D

Phoenix Back · 18 years ago
I don't think I've ever heard her say anything about the word "Eskimo" being derogatory..

Hee, I learnt in high school that is was derogatory. It seems we have a closed circle :D
Phoenix · 18 years ago
Dwd? Where do the mick mack live?
renita Back · 18 years ago
the mick mack are currently the native group in newfoundland.

however, they're actually from the mainland and only crossed over to the rock after the europeans came and killed off all the beothuk people. it is currently disputed whether the mick mack were brought over to help exterminate the beothuk or whether they flowed in to fill the gap as the beothuk died.
Annika · 18 years ago
This is along those lines although the teacher didn't say this she agreed with a student who was clearly wrong.
In my english class we were having a debate on whether or not public schools should allow bible study groups.
After listening to the reasons why it should be allowed I said, "if they allowed that would you be okay with them having hindu, buddhist, wiccan etc. to have groups as well?" She said, "Well.. old religions yes, but not the new ones like Hinduism and Buddhism." I was stunned with that response and looked over at the teacher hoping she'd say something as I was at a total loss for words and she said, "Well... that is a very good point, lets try and stick with only older accepted religions in this debate."
Kris 'engaged' Bedient Back · 18 years ago
*jawdrop* wow.
Gordondon son of Ethelred Back · 18 years ago
The response I wrote isn't here. I'll try again.

I'm Jewish so I consider any religion less thatn 3000 years old a newbie :-)

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