2.02.2009

Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?

Today, as I wrapped up a freshman class dedicated to reading Jorge Luis Borges' "The Garden of Forking Paths," I realized that the situation of the English teacher is very much a Borgesian problem.  Most English teachers -- maybe even all -- were partially inspired to become English teachers because of their own experience as a student in English classes.  They had an image of what things were like in a classroom devoted to the study of English/Literature, and that appealed to them -- and they thought, "I could do this forever."

But there was one thing they could not forsee, and that was the absence of themself as a part of the culture of the class.  That is, in every class they ever experienced as a student, they were one of the students.

As my students sat there today turning into mush, refusing to ask a question or make a statement or share a perspective, I felt my absence acutely: I wished I could have called on myself:  "Casey, what did you think about the notion of parallel selves across time?"

Waiting to be saved by oneself... such a persistent pathology!

1 comment:

Insignificant Wrangler said...

Equally jarring is when you actually have "you" in a class... I've had that happen a couple of times: a student that reminds me of what I might have been like in class...