First shark-themed class. Babbled about my project. Showed a seal hunt from “Air Jaws”–trying to exploit/explore that weird human position: thrilled by the predator, empathetic to the prey. Human beings as part of nature & observers of nature.
Trying to judge the silence of the audience. Were they bored? Enraptured? Too soon to tell what the chemistry of the group will be. Some classes feel like interminably dull parties in which people with little in common engage in 16-week conversations. Prattled on about how conservation being fun. Offered extra credit for seeing Blackfish at the Laemmle in Pasadena.
“Can we watch it online?”
“Buy a ticket,” I snapped.
My God. Sometimes they’re just so lazy.
Talked about shark stereotypes. Of Megalodon. Of Mindless Eating Machines. Made a series of self-deprecating jokes. Realized how hard teaching is. Got a few laughs. Tried to scare away the slackers by telling them they’d be forced to memorize and recite a poem about the sea, remembering when I had to memorize and recite poem about the sea in a 7th grade science class. “I must go down to the sea again to the lonely sea and the sky….” Was I mindlessly repeating the lessons inculcated into me when I was 12? I flashed on my science teacher, Mrs. McClure, staring moodily through her goggles into the quick flame of the bunsen burner.
“Memorization is a lost art,” I said, fondling my inflatable shark head. Gave my standard, if-you-think-you-might-drop-this-class-hand-in-your-syllabus-on-the-way-out spiel.
A sweet boy with Buddy Holly glasses stopped by my desk. “I have to admit,” he said. “Sharks might be….too overwhelming. I’m was hoping for….you know….Modernism?”