Friday, October 12, 2007
Blood All Over The Page
In my entire teaching career, I have taken one course dedicated to teaching. Taught by a lively eighty year old woman who still did ballet exercises every single day, she tried to take us through all the new-fangled methods of positive reinforcement and so forth, all the while stifling her impulse to say, Get the switch, if things weren't going our way in the classroom. While I remember my teacher quite well and the essays we wrote for her (this was my very first attempt to write about my rape which resulted in some terrible melodramatic garbage on the page to which she responded very kindly with things like "how appalling!" and "such are the depths of misery in men"), I can only remember one piece of advice. Never ever grade in red. It upsets the students, she said, according to new research. They need to feel loved. Blood all over the page is not love. Try green or purple.
It wasn't much to go on, but I held onto whatever thin reeds I could. All my preconceived ideas about teaching were knocked out of me by my first two classes, all plagued with the usual problems and a stalker of epic proportions that saw Victim written all over my forehead. These were the days before Columbine and all the school shootings that were and will be to follow, before disturbed meant "heavily armed" and before students started reporting creepy, squirrelly behavior in all its forms. My teaching has changed a lot over the years, but I still don't use a red pen. I don't have any green or purple either, but black works just fine. And with my teacher of yore, I would agree -- there's enough blood on the page without adding to it.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The job of the writer is to make revolution irresistible.” Toni Cade Bambara
Drinking movie suggestion: The Apartment
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy birthday to my friend Tim in Texas! And many happy wedding wishes to Charles (of Razored Zen) and his new bride Lana!