My book, What Did You Say?, is a collection of the funniest, head-shakingly, goofy things my high school students have said. This collection of quotes are from the first 15 years of my teaching career. Many of my colleagues have asked me what made me decide to start collecting these quotes. Well, here is the story of how it began.
I started my teaching career back in 1994. Back then, I was a young, gung-ho teacher, very excited to finally get started on that new chapter in my life. I used to talk about it to anyone who would listen.
Outside of the classroom, my hobby is archery. I have been a competitive archer for many years. The owner of the local archery shop had already known me for a few years when I started teaching, and would always ask me how my school year was going.
At the time, my wife was also getting into the competitive side of archery and we would shoot together at that local shop in a mixed couple’s league. We would arrive a little early, and chat with our archery friends before we would start shooting. Inevitably, someone would ask me how school was, and I would answer with, “Great! Listen to what this kid said to me yesterday…” I would repeat the quote and we would all have a good laugh. As the archery league went on, it got to be a routine. and it got to the point where, each time we met, someone would ask me’ “Okay, Grip, what’d they say this week?” I would gladly do my mini-stand up bit, and then we would go shoot.
Then, it happened. I don’t know if there was full moon or if there was something in the water, but I had a week of one funny quote after another. After about the 4th or 5th quote, I started to worry about forgetting all the material my students were giving me. After all, I had fans at the archery shop to consider. I couldn’t disappoint them, so I thought to myself, “I need to start writing these down.”
That was the first step. Once I started writing them down, I couldn’t stop. It was fun to go back after a few weeks, and share them with friends and family. I had a yellow legal pad on my desk and, as I would hear a book-worthy quote, I would jot it down. It didn’t take long for word to get out about my list of student quotes. If I wrote something down, everyone I saw later in the day would want to hear it.
Then, a few weeks later, I had that light-bulb moment with some help from a colleague. We were all having lunch in the teacher’s lounge when a veteran math teacher seated across me from me asked, “So Mr. Grippa, is it true you are writing down all the stupid stuff your kids say in your classes?”
“It sure is.” I replied.
The second he finished his next sentence was it when it happened, the moment the idea for my book was born. Keep in mind he had been teaching longer than I had been alive, and was just a year of two from retirement. “Man, if I had written down all the dumb stuff I’ve seen and heard over the years, I could write a book.”
Bing! That was it. I remember how they taught us in college to listen to our veteran colleagues, and learn what we could from them. So, I did just that. And, that is how the idea for my book, What Did You Say?, came about.
About the Author
Eric is still collecting quotes for a sequel to What Did You Say? He and his wife were married in the summer of 1993. Eric graduated from Northern Kentucky University in 1994, and started teaching in August of the same year at Goshen High School in Goshen, OH. In 1997, he changed school districts, and taught at Glen Este High School for 20 years. Eric and his wife had their son in 1998. In 2000, Eric earned his Masters degree from Wright State University, and What Did You Say? was published in 2010. Eric still teaches to this day, and doesn’t plan to retire any time soon.
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