A disaffection

Just two more days of regular classes, and I am, both alternately and simultaneously: sad about the end of the year, anxious about impending changes, desperate for more time to write, tired, frustrated about the things my students seem not to have learned (seriously, last paper of the year and you don’t integrate any of your quotations?  Really?), proud (my poetry students have been taking turns leading discussion and they’re doing such a great job!), worried, exasperated, bereft.

I had a meeting with Dorothea and Romola today in which I kvetched that judging by the last batch of papers, some of my ninth graders have still not mastered the convention of discussing events in literature in the present tense, and Romola said that she had been telling them that either the present or the past was okay.  I think I probably twitched visibly when I said that actually I thought that we should get them used to using the present tense now, since that’s what they will be expected to use next year and beyond.  I can’t believe this has never come up before.  (In fact, I’m pretty sure it did come up before, because I made a reference card for the most common mechanical and usage errors and their numbers in the writer’s reference  book we had all the students buy this year, and I remember saying that this one was hard to find, but it was there.)  Frankly, this is such a basic thing that I’m shocked that she didn’t know it.  She is a new teacher at SA, but not new to teaching.  Again, the thing that surprises me is that she just doesn’t seem like that much of a “literature person.”  She doesn’t seem to have read that much or to have a sense of what she might be expected to have read.  And she didn’t use last summer to read any of the books that were new to her, as far as I know.

I suppose it’s revealing of my own priorities (or prejudices, if you prefer) that I’m tsk-tsking more openly about her here than I ever have about the several people who annoy me considerably more at SA.  I’m apprehensive about sharing a room with her, is what it is.  I know it will probably work out positively for us both if I decide that’s what it must do.  But it’s been sooo eaaasy with Dr. Tea!  Darn her anyway for being chair and deserving her own room.  Rats!


5 responses to this post.

  1. Wow, that’s an odd “rule” to disregard, since students need to learn that somewhere along the line for later classes, right?


  2. Posted by meansomething on May 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    YES! It makes me think that Romola doesn’t understand this convention herself. HS jobs don’t require writing samples–maybe they should?


  3. Oh, I so think that HS jobs should require writing samples! Honestly, if one cannot oneself do what one is supposed to teach students to do … well, ’nuff said! And yet, sadly, it’s not the done thing (although, really, there’s no reason any individual department couldn’t adopt the practice, I guess).


  4. When we three are the triumvirate of queens of the world, it shall be so!


  5. […] with Romola.  As you know from previous posts, I am skeptical that she’s really a “literature person,”  and I’m a bit apprehensive about sharing a room with her (amid other changes).  I do think […]


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