I AM Your Frontal Lobe . . .
"Bless their hearts . . ." (a euphemism for "aren't they stupid?") - you have to love high schoolers - particularly the more right brained ones that participate in the arts. Their frontal lobes may not be developed, causing them to do and say stupidly impulsive things without considering the consequences, but that creative right brain does keep their sense of humor lively. A few of the braver (and smarter) ones even chuckle at my more subtle, albeit caustic, jokes on occasion. I tell them regularly that "I am your frontal lobe . . ." and responsible for keeping them focused on the task at hand so that they won't pay the un-soundly consequences later. [I know - "un-soundly" - so I'm a choral director who admires e. e. cummings' ability to create words to suit one's purpose - do feel free to try this at home.]
I find myself so busy laboring over their lobes, I sometimes forget to let my own frontal lobe communicate with my lips. Following an especially stimulating choral workshop with Simon C. (and my friends know of whom I speak), who scared the hell out of them when he actually expected them to act like choral musicians and not lobeless high schoolers, my students and I shared one of those "special" moments. The workshop was great (from my perspective) and provided some wonderful teaching moments in the Monday debrief that followed the weekend experience. I let the students do most of the talking - some of them expressing greater insight than I often give them credit for possessing. Occasionally, I provided a little "clarity," as it were. Perhaps I was overcome with a pedagogical high from the fact that the students were actually exercising a bit of metagcognition about the experience . . . (insert scarey music here). I opened my mouth, and feeling particularly witty and metaphorical (and completely forgetting the lobeless and lascivious nature of my high school audience) commented, "Mr. C does indeed run a bit of a tighter ship than I do, but I certainly enjoyed riding his ship for awhile." My students are comfortable with me - this was obvious from the tears of laughter streaming down their lascivious little faces.
Like my friend, Jacques, I think I should have a contest to identify the word that best describes when a seemingly innocuous comment manages to annihilate any future "teaching moments."