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…Off the Hook

The other day, I remembered that I was a teacher. Er, university instructor. For awhile there, I was just going through the motions — showing up for class, saying a few things — okay, a LOT of things, because there is nothing I like quite so much as the sound of my own voice (pretty sure there’s another post about that waiting in the wings), and God knows the students are disinclined to participate much in the opening weeks of a required class. So there we all were, going though the required class motions when it hit me: TEACH them.

The thing is (there’s always a thing with me), classrooms these days are crowded, and the best teaching tends to happen one-on-one. The one-on-group method means someone — maybe everyone — can hide. Such behavior is generally contra-productive to actual learning.When the instructor meets the pupil face-to-face, by golly, something worthwhile has a great chance of making not just an appearance, but a lasting impression.

Picture it: One instructor. One student. There’s no prevaricating. There’s no sea of downcast faces (undoubtedly something fascinating daily transpires on classroom floor, am I right?). There’s no gaping silence as the ‘teacher’ waits longingly for a lucid, on-target answer to an open-ended question. And there’s no harping to the masses, no preaching to the choir, no reliance on exhausted adages that fail to hit the mark. There’s only dialogue. Questions. Answers. Discussion. You know. LEARNING.

But, the classroom filled with students is far more cost-effective than a day-long series of tutorials. What’s an instructor to do?

Well. Instruct! Adapt! Overcome! Send emails of extra instruction! Hold office hours! Stay after class! DO THE WORK!!!!!

Friends don’t let friends off the hook just because the environment isn’t ideal. Friends don’t let friends off the hook because they simply don’t want to do the harder task. Friends don’t let friends off the hook, even when they offer a list of excuses (and trust me, I have not just good, but STELLAR excuses for why I don’t want to do the hard thing, and I bet you do too) for why the thing just isn’t working.

Listen to me, now. Friends who have friends who are teachers:  Don’t let them off the hook. The future depends on those students presently in the classroom, you know. Somebody’s got to TEACH them.

I’m glad I remembered I’m a teacher. Friends? Don’t let me off the hook.


…Ignore National Poetry Month!

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I just have to be a literature nerd for awhile. Sure, the expected advice would be “friends don’t let friends be nerds. Of ANY kind.” Frankly, that’s dreadful advice. I can’t get behind it. My profession won’t let me. My heart & mind won’t let me either. I love Jane Austen. I love CS Lewis. I love John Steinbeck. My thesis work, for cryin’ out loud, is in late Renaissance drama (Shakespeare et al, y’all). And so, when April rolls around, I get my literature nerd on. Why? Because April is National Poetry Month. (OH!……)

And so, I don’t want any of my friends here to miss out on the poetic fireworks going on at commonchapters, a little blog I nurse along when I’m not making public service announcements. 🙂 Seriously now. Friends don’t let friends ignore National Poetry Month.

You might have hated poetry in high school, but that doesn’t matter anymore. (and it doesn’t count!!!) If you love love, fear the unknown, marvel at the moon, hunger for beauty, wonder about life, then poetry is for you. If you like words, if you value wit, if you have a pulse, then poetry really is for you, because, well:

Poetry. It’s not just for nerds anymore.

Come and visit me at commonchapters. A poem a day. All April long. You’ll love it. Guaranteed.