It’s no secret that I’m a school teacher by day. And despite my not talking about my activism with students, it doesn’t surprise me when they occasionally find out about my work with Ask An Atheist or in the local freethought movement…which made a situation that occurred in during an instructional exercise the other day all that more surprising.
The scene: 7:55 am on a Tuesday. 27 freshmen Spanish students. One teacher.
The task: As a class, create a model profile for the teacher in preparation for creating their own profiles as cheat-sheets for their final exam. Hit all key points (personality, likes/dislikes, defining characteristics, favorite foods, activities, etc.) while being very descriptive, if not slightly ridiculous, and possibly flat-out false. Use correct grammar and rich vocabulary from all the year’s units of study.
The resulting profile:
Age: 172 years old
Current home: under a rock
Favorite foods: fried kittens and roasted bunnies. Only the cute ones.
Favorite drinks: the blood of the innocent
Family members: Dracula–grandfather; spouse–Eduardo Cullen; paramour–Jacobo el licántropo.
Physical traits: beautiful, wears magical eye glasses, has an extra toe, a beard, hidden antlers.
Personality: evil, talented, orderly, cunning, stingy, and …atheist.
I was caught so much off guard that I paused, broke into English, and asked “Why would you chose that to describe my fake personality?” The student quickly backtracked and responded that it was supposed to be an “opposite” profile, not necessarily an evil one. He then said “Aren’t you Jewish? And atheist is, like, the opposite of Jewish…”
I settled the matter by saying that yes, it’s no secret that I grew up in a Jewish family, but religious preference is so varied that there’s not really one opposite. If students wanted to add their religious identity as part of their profile, they could make an additional category and feel free to mention it with the correct conjugations and grammatical gender agreement.
We all agreed at my urging not to include a religion on my model profile, and moved on to the bigger and better subject of favorite classes: herbology, divination, and defense against the dark arts. I’ll need them after all.