I like to think I’m a good teacher. I’m encouraging. I’m patient—at least most of the time. I lead by example and I challenge my students to think on their own. But every once in a while, I’ll find myself standing in the studio lecturing my students and wondering “what the f*ck am I saying right now?”
Last Saturday was one of those times.
I was at the studio with 16 of my students for the first rehearsal of this year’s production number. (Technically it’s a “Large Group Routine” and not an official “Production” because the latter requires at least 20 kids and I’m such a stickler about technique that I only selected 16 students at this year’s auditions but “Large Group Routine” is just such a mouthful, don’t you think?)
At any rate, we were plowing through the choreography: the intro, the first chorus, the horn solo; even the stop time section. The girls were focused. I only had to yell twice and by the end of the three-hour rehearsal, I was feeling pretty good about the routine, my abilities as an educator and the state of the world in general.
But then it happened.
The teenagers are dancing on a series of large, wooden boxes this year. The biggest is nearly three feet high, and they’re arranged onstage in descending order, like a flight of steps. After the intro, the girls have to step down from the boxes to join the rest of the dancers at the front of the stage but during this particular run of the piece, one of them forgot. So what did the girl behind her do? She pushed her—during a freaking dance rehearsal on a floor that’s so slippery I feel like I’m ice skating half the time.
“WHAT was that?” I bellowed, slamming my index finger against the CD player to silence the music.
The girls stopped dead in their tracks and stared guiltily at the floor.
“Was that an intelligent choice???” I demanded. “You tell me: was that an INTELLIGENT choice?”
They were just fooling around, and nobody fell, but I was livid. The girls in question are amongst my most advanced students—the ones who are supposed to be setting an example for the younger kids, not shoving one another—and after three hours it was all I could do to keep from shouting “What the f*ck is wrong with you???”
Except they’re my students. So I had to stick with “Was that an intelligent choice?”
When I relayed the story to The Wedding Date, he burst out laughing and teased, “Ooh! You sure told them!” But what was I supposed to say?
Frankly, I thought it was one of my better teacher moments.
So, for all of the teachers (and parents) out there: do you ever find yourself yelling complete and utter nonsense to avoid employing four-letter words? And if so, any gems you’d like to share?