Monday, May 30, 2011

More Funny Stories / Inspirational Stories / An Update

(If you haven't already seen my first set of funny stories, check it out, too.)

1. In addition to "Mr. Bowtie," "The Bow Tie Guy," "Metal Guy," and "Mr. Ninja," I am apparently also called "The Pirate Guy."  A group of 10th graders at one school seems to have come up with that due to my long hair and ear piercings.  As thrilling as it would be to magically meet an old-fashioned pirate, meeting one who wears a bow tie would suitably fulfill my life.  Furthermore, I was recently talking to a student at "Pirate Guy" school about how she knew a lot of students at "Ninja Guy" school.  I told her that a couple students their call me "Mr. Ninja" and she said, "Those are my friends!"  Hm.  Small world.

2. I got asked to prom.  No, really.  Yes, by a student.  There are times when, after discovering that singing is my primary musical focus, students convince me to sing something for them.  On this day I had a class split into two adjacent rooms so that they'd have enough computers to use, and while singing for one room, those in the other came to the door to listen.  One of those girls, just before leaving class said, "Mr. Duval, I haven't found a date for prom yet and I think you would be perfect."  Stunned, wary, and unavoidably flattered, I said "No thanks, I'm afraid I can't do that.  Good luck."  It's really too bad I couldn't sing this well when I in high school.

3. I was in a cafeteria walking by a table of students that had just had a class with me.  One girl asked me where I was from and then, "Did you fly?" whilst comically flapping her arms like little wings.  "Yes, but I had to flap a lot faster than that," I said.  That joke earned laughs and led to her repeating the gesture each time she saw me that day (which was often, due to an assembly), which I responded to with direct imitation.  Plenty of other students laughed when their sub flapped his arms awkwardly in the halls.

4. At the same table, a student asked a question more ridiculous than the classic "Are you smart?"  This one asked, "Are you old?"

5. I'm not sure if this counts as "funny":  I was substituting for a middle school when I was confronted with some questions that I never expect to hear again...multiple times.  In one class, a student walked in and said to me, "You're creepy." Another soon asked, "Are you famous?"  I said "No, have you seen me on TV or something?" and the student's response was, "You look like a serial killer."  In a later class of a different grade, I was told, "You look creepy."  As if this weren't enough, the next day (in a new, hopefully less frightening bow tie), I was walking through the front door of the building and a girl whispered to her friend, "He's scary," as I walked by.  Such things have never happened at any other school or at that school again since that 24-hour series.

6. The second time subbing for a particular high school was filled with unexpected and flattering praise.  Just before a first period study hall began, a student that was in my class the previous week walked in and flat-out yelped with glee when he saw me.  Hmm.  Other students were also quite pleased (though not quite as vocal) to see me.  Yes, this happens to plenty of good subs, but I was particularly surprised to see this my second day in a school.  During a fire drill later in the day another teacher said, "Hey, you're that sub they keep talking about."  I am?  Apparently so.  Reputations spread quickly at that place.

7. Particularly after singing, I have had a number of students talk to me about becoming music majors.  I love opportunities to talk to students about finding and pursuing their passion(s).

8. There have been two incredible days this semester.  The first was when two music teachers had subs; I for band, and a non-musician for choir.  I had the chance to give input to a couple choirs and wound up conducting a few pieces.  The students and I all had so much fun because they responded to my suggestions, critiques, and conducting gestures.  That kind of ensembleship (pretend that's a word) is what makes music education unlike anything else, and it absolutely made my week.  The second was when I was subbing for a [different] choir teacher and worked with a wonderfully receptive choir.  I just talked about it, though I neglected to mention the amazingly inspirational moment at the end of that day; about five students walked to me and shook my hand as they were leaving class.  I couldn't believe it.  To any students out there, if you want to make a teacher feel appreciated, do that — shake your teacher's hand and say, "Thank you."

Finally, an update.  I've moved to a nearby state for the summer to a place where I can practice piano incessantly, attempt to accomplish a lot of my self-assigned "summer reading list," and apply for a lot of jobs.  I'll continue to blog, as I have a few in the draft phase and fully expect to find other research and current events to discuss.

A portion of my list.  I've yet to purchase a few.


  1. Number 2 made my musical life, and number was the icing on the cake.

  2. Sweet book list! I'm digging all the music-psych selections :)and I agree with Rose -- anything by Meyer has officially blown my mind. Just finished reading his "Music, the Arts, and Ideas: Patterns and Predictions in Twentieth-Century Culture." Superb.

  3. I'm about halfway through Meyer's selection up there. It's incredible. I owe you all this story: to entertain a class for a few minutes who had asked about the book I was reading (Meyer), I opened to a random page, read a paragraph, and discussed it. One student said what you did, "that blew my mind!"

    Also, Levitin.