Category Archives: Classroom Droppings

Students can be both serious and hilarious. Let’s focus on the latter.

What’s on your iPod Mr. Moore?

I’ve been pushing  back the frontiers of ignorance for a very long time now — 25 years and grinding. Sometimes you have to put your shoulder into it but intellectual light-bulbs still illuminate periodically and that keeps us coming back for more. I have often said I love teaching so much I would almost certainly do it for free. Fortunately no one with administrative substance ever takes me seriously so I have withdrawn the offer. Truth be told it is the interaction with students that I enjoy most. Not that it matters but I am persuaded that true “teaching moments” transcend lectures, books and laboratory beakers. Take for example an encounter with a very bright student we will call Ms. Molly. (Deference  to Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels et al, intended). I am a music junkie. I honestly will listen to just about anything. I am the iPod developers group poster child. I am also pretty much deaf from listening to all aforementioned music full tilt, no exceptions. So I arrived one evening for class and was full-on iPodding it while preparing for lecture. Ms. Molly inquires, “What ‘cha listening to Mr. Moore?” I looked down at my device and replied, “Tool.” I think she thought I said, “Cool.” With a smirk and both hands motioning to her ears she again opined, “NO, what ‘cha listening to? With deliberate enunciation I replied, “TOOL!” Thinking she will somehow entrap me she mockingly says, “Yea right. What track?” “Stink fist,” I retort. Her look at that point was not unlike that of a goose staring at the lightning. I knew I had a teachable moment begging to be loosed. “You know what else is on my iPod?” Slack-jawed she shook her pretty head sideways. I replied, “For starters, a taste of Pavarotti, a little AC-DC, Patsy Cline, some Jay-Z and a killer mix of Frankie Yankovic for my occasional polka fix.” Slowly the light-bulb ignited and the teaching moment was complete, she got it.

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