Wanna Hear Some Embarrassingly Comical Classroom Blunders?

Embarrassing & True - Comical Classroom Blunders @SoThenStories.com
So then…my Saddle Oxfords swing to and fro beneath my blue plaid skirt and white blouse, as I try mightily to pay attention to the teacher at SVA – that’s St. Vincent’s Academy, the all-girls Catholic high school.

We joke that SVA stands for “Saints, Virgins & Angels.” (cough cough)

Anyway, I strain to comprehend Mr. A, our physics teacher – because honestly, all science is a mystery to me. He might as well be speaking Japanese and drawing hieroglyphics on the chalkboard for as well as I’m understanding this subject matter.

Typically, I fare pretty well academically, but in this class, I’m skating by, strictly on the basis of memorization.

So when Mr. A begins discussing resistance of electric circuits — I get super excited that I actually know the answer when he asks the class, “What does “Z” stands for?”

Without even raising my hand, I shout, “IMPOTENCE! IMPOTENCE!”


Mr. A’s shocked face.

Giggles and guffaws from the whole class.

Apparently the correct answer is impedance (pronounced “im-peed-ins”)

IMPOTENCE is something else all together.

And back in the days that I went to high school, IMPOTENCE is not exactly a word you heard commonly bandied about in an all-girls school, especially in front of our only male teacher.

Mr. A turns bright red.

He opens his mouth to speak, but dissolves into silent laughter.

He turns away and starts again – no words came out. Just more laughter.

He tries to write something on the chalkboard, but he laughs so hard, his hand shakes.

He tries yet another time to speak, but cannot contain his mirth.

Blessedly, the bell rings for lunch and we girls scuttle out of the classroom.

(Much later, Mr. A tells me that he went to the Teacher’s Lounge to eat his lunch and kept bursting into silent fits of laughter, while the other teachers looked at him oddly.)

I have no idea if Mr. A knows someone who suffers from that particular bedroom issue – or whether he just thinks IMPOTENCE is a hysterically incorrect answer for impedance, but I’m glad to provide him with such a hearty chuckle!

Of course, nowadays, formerly forbidden language is tossed around in daily discussion: “What’s with all the bathtubs in those erectile dysfunction commercials? Which reminds me, when you’re at the store for chips and salsa, pick up condoms. Great, thanks, pass the salt please.”

But back in my high school days, especially at a Catholic all-girls school, one simply did not talk about such things!

In fact, at our Junior Talent Show, my classmate and I served as co-MCs, so we’d take turns telling jokes as we introduced the acts.

On the first night, my co-MC asked the audience, “How can you recognize Ronald McDonald at a nudist colony?” Answer: “By his sesame seed buns!” Huge laugh.

But the school notified her that her MC services wouldn’t be needed on the second night!

Seriously! Booted from the show for a buns joke!

Four years later, my little sister Della served as MC for the SVA Junior Talent Show. In her enthusiasm, she stumbled on her words and announced to the whole auditorium of students, siblings, parents, teachers, and nuns:

“At intermission, please join us in the lobby for cocks and cookies.”


She meant Cokes.

Not cocks.

I never saw the nuns run so fast. To the lobby.

Ha, OK, kidding. The nuns did not run to the lobby – and they were not amused by my sister’s faux pas. But even they had to admit it was merely a mistake – and not a deliberate offer of penises. (peni?)

So between my sister’s cocks and my impotence, we’re obviously fabulous role models!

— Darcy Perdu

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(What words are commonplace now that you’d never have dreamed of uttering in the classroom when you were a kid? Ever embarrass yourself with a funny mispronunciation or wrong word?)

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44 replies on “Wanna Hear Some Embarrassingly Comical Classroom Blunders?

  1. I’m still laughing. And I like the sesame seed buns joke. And on a sad note, I do not know what impedance means.

  2. Tina said:

    When I was a “cool” smoking teenager, I went to the local Mom & Pop grocery store to buy cigarettes. Instead of asking for a pack of Virginia Slim, I asked for a pack of Vagina Slime.

  3. Perhaps the Sisters Of Little Or No Mercy merely were running because they hoped they’d get their hands on some young studs before the Mother Superior (otherwise known as Battleship Mary) could stop them. Celibacy isn’t normal… one wonders how nuns put up with it.
    William Kendall recently posted..All Paths Lead To The NetherlandsMy Profile

    • Ha! “Sisters of Little or No Mercy!”

      Actually, we had some pretty great nuns at SVA that taught us some excellent academics! I attribute my SAT score to them! :)

    • When I hug you at Blog U, I’m going to whisper, “IMPOTENCE!” in your ear!

  4. Dana said:

    In math class, my (male) teacher was explaining taxes and asked “What is the word that means you don’t have to pay this portion? It starts with an “E”. So I guessed “Erect?”

    (The right answer was exempt.)

    • Bwahahahaha! I love it! That’s hilarious!
      Obviously you and I are on opposite dimensions – you’re shouting “Erect” & I’m shouting “Impotence!” :)

  5. Paul said:

    Yep, when you’re young the wrong words pop out easily. i can tell you a face palm moment that I watched unfold in a teaching capacity some years ago. I was the regional Safety Director for a gas tanker company. The government had changed the log book regulations (every commercial driver is required by law to keep a log book accounting for every minute. There were new limits on driving time and minimum sleep time). The terminal manager and i had been attending training and tutorials and interpreting the legislation for months. We had been doing driver training in smaller groups and we had a mandatory general safety meeting scheduled. The terminal manager figured it would be a good idea (which it was) to have a government official come to speak at the meeting about log regulations. She actually got the top guy in truck enforcement to give a lecture and take questions on the new regulations. He had been on the job for 20 years and was highly regarded as being fair and honest. All the officers reported to him. So, any way, the day came and the official started his presentation in front of 50 drivers and it was all wrong. What he was telling the drivers would get them tickets. My boss from head office was there and she and my terminal manager went up to the podium and asked to speak to him for a minute. When they came back he was no longer with them. I felt bad for him – his department lost a lot of respect from the 50 drivers that day.

    • Eeek! How embarrassing! Glad they were able to guide him away from the podium before he did more damage!

  6. Connie Conehead said:

    One of my favorite Darcy stories! :-)

    • Thanks, Connie, and you witnessed it first-hand! :) “IMPOTENCE! IMPOTENCE!”

      • Connie Conehead said:

        As I was the reason you missed his correct pronunciation in the first place, I apologize for causing your humorous error. Who knew “creative writing” during Physics class would be so much more interesting than electricity? But it has served us well, hasn’t it? ;-)

        • Ha! Yes! We had so much fun with our SNL skits! Loved our creative writing adventures!

  7. My best friend had a bit of a rep in high school – in freshman year, she shouted “TESTICLES!” instead of “tentacles” and then in sophomore year, it was “AREOLA” instead of “alveoli”.

    She’s now on her way to becoming a surgeon, and she still blushes when she has to say those words. Ah, high school.

    • That’s hilarious! Like most teenagers, she just suffered from sex-on-brain!
      And I’m impressed she used the scientific technical names for those body parts — which is probably why she’s now a doctor! :)

    • Dana said:

      Every time I see the clothing store “Aureole” I pronounce it as areola! :)

      • Ha! Maybe that’s part of their master plan all along! :)

  8. AinOakPark said:

    The real answer to the Ronald McDonald question is this: He’s the one with a BIG MAC and the sesame seed buns. Snicker, snort! (I crack myself up! This is a great joke because it is where first grade meets adult humor. Only it’s in the most stupid way possible.)

    The big word for first graders is “but” – it always makes them laugh when it’s said in a word family (you know, hut, cut, nut, BUT) and then I have to say something like, “We can use it in a sentence like this: I’d like to help you BUT I’m busy right now.” Sheesh!

    And, really, doesn’t impedance result in a form of impotence (?), so you ARE RIGHT! At least he got a lot of happy mileage out of it.

    Thanks for the laugh.

    • HA! Big Mac! Reminds me of the guy’s underwear printed with “Home of the Whopper!”

  9. Penis for your thoughts, indeed.

    We innocently used to ask our English teacher what the word ‘fellatio’ meant every once and a while, out of the blue, with straight faces.
    This amused him, but he never could tell if we knew or not.

    • Ha! I think Fellatio was one of Romeo’s friends in Romeo and Juliet — it was Benvolio, Mercutio, and Fellatio, right?

  10. Lee A Lewis said:

    So I was debating whether or not to tell this story since it makes sense if you have ever lived or worked in South Dakota, but here goes.
    Due to circumstances beyond my control, my parents moved us to Tennessee where I went to a small boarding school for all 4 of my high school years. One day in my Senior year I am sitting there listen to our social studies teacher talking about the Midwest. As he is going through the names of the states and their capitols he states that the capitol of South Dakota is named Pierre, which it is, except he pronounced it as “Pee – Ehr.” I immediately raised my hand and said excuse me the capitol of South Dakota is named Pierre, (I pronounced it “Peer”). He stopped and looked at me and said it is spelled “P-I-E-R-R-E” to which I nodded my head and agreed that that is how it was spelled. HE then stated “Well in France that is pronounced “Pee – Ehr” to which I replied “In France it might be pronounced “Pee – Ehr” but in South Dakota it is pronounce “Peer.” He then looked at me and asked how I would know that (in a somewhat snotty tone I might add). At that the entire class started laughing and one of the students in the front row informed him that I was from South Dakota. He never much cared for me after that incident.

    • HA! Yep, teachers typically do NOT like to be corrected!
      But you had first-hand knowledge, so you had to “school” him! I bet the class loved that!

  11. Being a huge fan of bad jokes, I can’t stop laughing at sesame seed buns. Thanks Darcy!

    • Right? Definitely need a rim shot to follow that punchline!

  12. Melissa said:

    I have a similar blunder though not at Catholic school. When I was a freshman in high school I found myself in a geometry class composed primarily of upperclassmen. I had been deemed “teacher’s pet” because when no one else would know the answer, the teacher would always call on me…and I always knew the answer. One afternoon I was asking a question and stumbled over my words. I really didn’t know what I had said that was so funny to my classmates until my teacher interrupted me, “I think you mean ‘contrapositive’ Melissa.” Apparently I had asked a question about the “contraceptive.” Ugh.

    • Bwahaha! That’s hilarious! Why do all our word stumbles relate to SEX? So funny!

  13. I’ve been a lurker for way too long. Now I have to step out of the shadows and tell you how funny you are! I LOVE this post!

    My kid used to call hangers “hookers.” He tried to fill up the shopping cart at Sam’s Club with hangers, and when I wheeled away, he screamed over and over, “I WANT A HOOKER!”

    • Ha! Don’t we all, kid, don’t we all?!

      And thanks for commenting, Samara! Thanks for the compliment!

  14. Arionis said:

    Oh from the mouth of babes! LOL! Reminds me of the time my girlfriend and I had the same biology class in high school. She was called on to read from the text book. There were several references to organisms. However, every time she read those she pronounced it orgasms. She couldn’t understand why everyone was snickering until I whispered the reason in her ear. She was, of course, mortified! After that, I kept asking her to give me an organism when we’d go out. Alas, she never did.

    • Bwahahaha! I can just picture you, Arionis, with a hopeful look in your eye: “Will you give ME an organism, honey?” Nope. Ha!