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Math Teacher Story

Years ago, I was taking an algebra class over the summer, and had a teacher who liked to reminisce about his past with funny stories. He relates that he had been a math teacher in the Air Force, where it was his duty to force sleepy young recruits to stay awake for an hour of math at 8:00 in the morning in a large, warm, dimly-lit auditorium. One day, he came into the auditorium and saw his class even sleepier and less attentive than usual. He realized that something drastic would have to be done.

Now this classroom was very old, and the blackboards, which had been nailed on to the walls with old black iron nails, had become loose over the years. As a result, these black nails jutted almost invisibly from the blackboard and this teacher kept banging his hands on them while erasing the board. He decided to put them to good use.

With enough of a flourish to guarantee the class's attention, he went to the front of the room, near one edge of the board. Then, clearing his throat, he drew a coathook right near one of the protruding nails. He proceeded to hang his coat and hat on the hook that he had drawn in chalk (really on the nail, of course). Then he went on to give that day's lecture. He told us that the entire class had their eyes to the front of the room throughout the lecture. He didn't know if they'd heard a single word he'd said, but at least they looked attentive.

At the end of the class, the lecturer would usually leave by a small door near the blackboards, while the class would leave through the large doors at the back of the hall. When class was over, he took his coat and hat, erased the coathook, and left through the small door--and was followed by the entire class, lining up to go past the blackboard to see how he'd done it.

   几年前,我花了整整一个夏天来修代数这门课。教这课的老师总喜欢回忆以前发生的趣事。他说他以前在空军部队里教书,在那里他的工作就在早晨八点的时候,强迫一群睡意正浓的新兵在一间即温暖又灯光昏暗的大教室里精神百倍的上一个小时的数学课。一天,当他走进礼堂的时候,发现他的学生们比平时更加昏昏欲睡,注意力分散,于是他想必须做点有刺激性的事。

   上课的教室已十分破烂,黑板是用那些老式的黑铁钉钉在墙上的。经过这么多年,钉子已经松动了。由于钉子的颜色和黑板一样,都是黑色,即使突出来也不明显的。再加上,老师边擦黑板边把钉子往里按紧,这下就更加隐蔽了。老师便打算充分利用这些钉子。

   于是他在众目睽睽之下,走到前面,靠近黑板的一边,轻咳了一下(以便引起注意)。在那突出的黑钉子旁边画了一个挂衣钩。随后便将自己的外衣和帽子挂在了那个粉笔画的衣钩上(其实当然是挂在了那钉子上)。然后就继续讲课。他说全班同学盯了前方整整一节课。可他却怀疑学生是否听进去了一个词,不过至少他们都精神百倍。

   通常讲完课,讲师都是从黑板边的一个小门离开,而同学门都是走教室后面的大门。可今天下课的时候,当老师摘下外套和帽子,擦掉那个衣钩,从小门离开的时候,却发现整个班的同学都跟随在他后面排成队走过黑板去看看老师刚才究竟是如何做的。