Day 25 AIM: What do you do if your students asks you a question you cannot answer?

Do Now: Always prepare for the impossible. Yes, you are uber-teacher extraordinaire who can close the achievement gap and make it home in time for Grey’s Anatomy. But consider, for a moment, that your students, being the independent entities that they are, possess the same potential for human ingenuity that you do. However, you must remember that if they ask a question that you cannot answer, it’s still your prerogative to convey the illusion of omnipotence, even though at that moment you might be feeling more impotent.

The key is to always answer impossible questions with equally impossible rhetorical questions that involve the question asked. Here’s an example:

Student:(To their science teacher) When will the universe end?

Teacher: (Panicked) Well, can the universe end?

or alternatively

Teacher: (Still panicked) Well, why would the universe end?

What would probably ensue is a 15-minute debate that even Stephen Hawking couldn’t comfortably navigate with his talking computer. And through this open-ended and gargantuan retort, you have demonstrated, albeit indirectly, the power of persuasive questioning. In the end, you don’t have to know anything (read: ANYTHING) about nuclear physics to have the aforementioned discussion on physics. All you need is curiosity and rhetoric powerful enough to hide your obvious ignorance in all matters relating to the physical construct of the universe.


Filed under Daily AIM

2 responses to “Day 25 AIM: What do you do if your students asks you a question you cannot answer?

  1. Ian

    i can remember a time or two or three when i resorted to these methods.

    it’s almost like second nature now.

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