Stand up if you have never, ever farted in your entire life…

As many a teacher will tell you, the after-lunch class proves to be a more…odorous…class than others. Cafeteria food + 15 fourteen year-old boys = gas-passing central. The other day we were taking a quiz which, naturally, calls for a quiet, focused classroom atmosphere. Unfortunately on this particular day the atmosphere was rather toxic. At first my students tried really hard to keep straight faces and focus on their quizzes. But then it became sort of a game to see who could produce the most shock-inspiring smells. Efforts to cover noses with shirts became efforts to stifle giggles which became impossible when someone “forgot” to mute the volume. In order to pre-emptively thwart any attempts to cheat off a neighbor during the malodorous mayhem, I said, “Okay. I want you to stand up if you have never, ever farted in your entire life.” Some were shocked into silence, some blushed red with embarrassment, and some smiled at the young teacher who said “fart” instead of “flatulate.” But (to everyone’s relief), no one, including me, stood up, and everyone got back to his/her quiz, and I cracked the window to clear the air.

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