Early in my career, I was teaching an “Intro to Microsoft Project” class for a large corporate client in St. Paul, Minnesota. I had been there to teach classes for them a number of times previously. During my welcome and introduction, I intended to say, “It’s good to be back in the Twin Cities again.” But somehow, instead I said, “It’s good to be back in Minneapolis again.” You wouldn’t think that would be a big deal, right? WRONG!
When I asked my students to introduce themselves, one woman in the class told me her name and then she said, “I was born in St. Paul. I went to elementary school, junior high, and high school in St. Paul. I went to the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. And you, sir, are standing in St. Paul, NOT Minneapolis!” Her last sentence was delivered while yelling at me. The rest of the students said, “Dude, you’re busted!”
At the first break, I attempted to apologize to her, but she walked past me without making eye contact or speaking with me. During class, she basically did not participate in anything we did. On her post-class evaluation form, graded on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is horrible and 10 is great), she gave me a 0 score on every item!
Photo courtesy of Francisco Martinez