Another one from Sarah Schnierer Fan:
When I was in 9th grade, I took Russian to fulfill my language requirement. I thought it would be good practice to take all my notes in all my classes in Russian so as to reinforce the vocabulary I was learning. It worked very well: most classes didn’t require more than basic vocabulary. History was hard. There were all these new words to look up, because I wasn’t going to transliterate. So I spent half the class flipping through a dictionary.
This would have been nothing but a great language exercise, but the history teacher required us to hand in our notes once a month. I guess it was to force us to take quality notes, and not just photocopy someone else’s around test time.
So I handed in my notes.
The teacher tells me she can’t read them.
“Well, they’re in Russian,” I explained.
“But I need to read them,” she explained right back.
“So ask the Russian teacher to check them,” I suggested. (Let’s just say I was slightly socially oblivious as a teen. I didn’t mean to be chutzpadik.)
I figured that would be the end of it. After all, my notes were great — writing in a foreign language really forces you to pay attention and extract the kernel from the chaff. The Russian teacher could vouch for the excellence of my note-taking.
Well, a few days later I get called out of class by the principal. She wants to see my notes. Expecting high praise, I proudly present a copy of my history notes in Russian.
She gives me a funny look.
“So, is it true you’re taking notes in Russian?”
“Yes,” I said. “We’re learning it in another class and I think it’s a great learning experience. I’m reinforcing both learning experiences.”
She turns my notes over and over slowly, as if looking for the real explanation. “Well, we never had a student write in Russian before.”
“Well, now you do!”
She gave me a long look and sent me back to class.