Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Just to see 'em squirm

Last week I met some girlfriends in a park nearby my house to hang out, chat, and share a carton of gelato. Mmmm... Through a series of rather random events, my friend Rebecca and I ended up at a choir rehearsal in the community center next door singing the names of several cheeses in operatic voices with a couple of guys we met in the park.*

Yeah, I know. Welcome to my life.

Well I, being the music teacher I am, thought this song would be peeerfect for a few of my primary classes. I made mental note of the words, and Rebecca and I sung it to each other over the phone a few times over the weekend (I love my kooky friends!) and I was all set to teach it to my kids today.

Senooo-o-o-o-oooo-o-o-o-ooo-oore, senior-iii-iii-na
Mozzarella, parmigiana, pescatore, pizza pie,
Mozzarella, parmigiana, pescatore, pizza pie, buh-dum-boum

They had the tune. They had the words. But the emotion! Ah, it was sadly lacking. They were just a bunch of singing lumps on the carpet! I wanted them to get their voices and entire bodies to portray a deep feeling when they were singing this song (can we say, dramatic exercise?), so we talked about opera, and how it was intensely emotional.

"People aren't just happy," said I, pausing to smile weakly at them, "they're HAPPY!" I flung my head back, shot my arms in the air, arched my back, and raised myself up on my tippie-toes.

A little louder now, I told them, "People aren't just sad," as my eyes turned downward and I stuck out my lower lip ever so slightly, "they're SAD!" I rolled my shoulders forward and let my head drop. As my hands fell to my side, I let out a heavy sigh and let my face feel the weight of all the sorrow I was trying to convey.

Still louder, I continued. "People aren't just mad." I frowned at the class. "They're MAD!" And with that, I scowled my fiercest scowl, lunged at them, one foot forward and my fists up and ready to fight. A few of them squealed and scurried backwards on the carpet.

"And of course... do you remember what 'seniore' meant?"

"Sir!" "Mister!" They all called out variations on what I had told them.

"And 'seniorina?' "

"Mrs!" "Maam!"

"Ah Haaa! Well, In opera, we can't forget about one veeeery important emotion! People aren't just in love, they're IN LOOOOVE!" One hand on my heart, I threw my head back and raised the back of my hand to my forehead... which point the entire class of eight year olds scrunched up their noses and cried, "EEEEWWWWWW!!!!!"

Some raised their shoulders to their ears in disgust, some covered their ears, and some physically turned around to avoid the horror of even thinking about those cootie-laden creatures of the opposite sex. One boy mimicked ramming his finger down his throat and made loud gagging noises.

I got them to show emotion all right!

Ah, how I love horrifying my students with my antics! Giggle giggle!

* ok, ok, so Rebecca knew them, but it just wouldn't sound as good if I had told you that, now would it? ;)


anne said...


So funny. Love messing with the kiddos... :)

Mike said... at that age just can't relate to the other sex...but then...alot still have trouble understnding them at any age.

Jean said...

HAA!!! That's perfect!! You are SO good!!!!

Sandy said...

De-lurking to say I love this story!! Your descriptions are wonderful, and I can totally picture this unfolding. I enjoy reading about your teaching.

Hillary said...

Anne: yep, that' why I went into teaching - to mess with kids! :D uhh... I mean to EDUCATE them. Yes. To EDUCATE them.

Mike: ah, how true!

Jean: It was a repeat performance today! So fun!

Sandy: welcome! Thanks for commenting!