Young children sometimes think their parents and teachers have a super power, a way of knowing and seeing things even when their backs are turned. Using humor, they explain to children that they have these eyes in the back of their head. When I taught at schools which did not allow chewing gum in class, unsuspecting students who carefully stopped chewing whenever I turned around to face the class were dumbfounded when I told them to get rid of the gum. Students often wondered how I knew this. In addition to having eyes in the back of my head, I also have a heightened sense of smell to I knew the flavor being chewed as well as who was chewing it.
In one high school, the front of each classroom was equipped with a television monitor next to the computer where teachers had to input attendance at the beginning of class. It also provided an excellent reflection of the entire room if my back was turned so if a student was not on task, I could address that student without skipping a beat to turn around. The unsuspecting student usually asked how I knew. Why it’s those eyes in the back of my head, of course.
A sixth grade teacher at a middle school where I taught one year related how she sat at her kitchen table eating breakfast when her five year old came up behind her and started parting her hair in the back of her head with his fingers. When she asked him what he was doing, he replied that he was looking for those eyes in the back of her head.
We may know some people who prop sunglasses on the top of their heads instead of wearing them over their eyes. One morning, my daughter and I were out for breakfast after her hospital night shift. At the table next to us, a man and his two friends were enjoying conversation over coffee. I tried not to stare, but couldn’t help noticing how he wore his glasses backwards but still over his ears as if he had eyes in the back of his head. Amused, I decided to ask permission to take a photo of the back of his head where his glasses were perched.
He willingly obliged and then told us the story of how a restaurant patron had complained to the manager about him for staring at her throughout her meal. He elaborated that he wore his glasses on the back of his head that day as well along with a hooded sweatshirt and a cap. Then he showed us the photo taken of him dressed that way. Laughter is truly the best medicine!