Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Geometry Has Charms To Soothe A Savage Heckler

Woe is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, she of the standup act performed six times per day in front of a listless audience.

During my fourth performance at my regular venue, I took my rightful place at the front of the class. A visual aid drawn on the whiteboard during the second performance remained. I revealed it by raising the projector screen. I wasn't exactly expecting OOHs and AAHs like a magician. I quickly erased the meat and potatoes from the main course so they could be served fresh.

"Hey! Did I see BLACK and BROWN up there?" Some audience members demand individual recognition for their patronage. You'd think they were paying a cover charge, or making reservations months in advance. Sadly, my show is as free as a clogging festival as Silver Dollar City...once the season ticket price has been paid.

"Maybe you did, and maybe you didn't. We'll find out after the lesson when you get your worksheet."

"Oh. I thought I got a sneak peak that you didn't want me to see."

"Seeing and making use of the vision are two different things. And don't go looking for that washer and dryer, either. I have not installed them in the classroom."

"Okay. We're clear on that."

"Now, if you'll look up here, we have what was first presented in the video on Thursday. A Punnett square--"

"Oh! Oh!"

"I see your hand up. Are you going to interrupt me EVERY sentence today? Because that will take up a lot of time, and you'll have to take the assignment home to finish it, and I won't be able to answer questions about it."

"No! It's not like that. I just wanted to tell you...those four squares? They're longer sideways than they are tall."

"Okay, so let's say that I have updated R.C. Punnett's work, and I will be showing you how to predict inheritance of traits by using a PUNNETT RECTANGLE."

"Oh. All right."

You see, sometimes the audience gets hung up on the details. Should I, perhaps, decide to discuss the terrible wrongness of shooting an elephant in my pajamas, they would not be able to focus until they found out the pattern and color scheme of the pajamas.

At the conclusion of my intro, as I walked back to my control center to cue up the textbook-reading disembodied voice on DVD, my heckler again demanded validation. "Hey! The front of my book is all wet! How did THAT happen?"

"I don't know. I thought you only nodded off to sleep at the END of the lesson."

"Yeah. There has to be another explanation."

"Good. Because you're not putting my book through the washer and dryer that I don't have."

Students. Can't teach biology to 'em. Can't teach biology without 'em.

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