Remembering Teachers: The Good, the Bad, and the Joyless
The other day on Facebook some friends and I were reminiscing about a few of our literature professors. We were pretty much in agreement about who was a lousy instructor and who rocked our world.
One of the teachers we discussed taught Shakespeare, but focused almost exclusively on the problems of the plays, so I rarely got a sense from him of what made the Bard one of the greats. He had no joy or passion for the subject matter.
Another actually engaged the texts we read with care and wonder, in a manner I found difficult and challenging and intriguing. His eye went deep in search of meaning. In a sense, he taught me how to read literature patiently, lovingly, and inquisitively. He would raise questions about details all of us would pass over without a thought: Ahab spitting into a “silver calabash” before an altar in a Spanish country, for example. And he would tie these details together into a larger thread, helping us to see the truth of the work, the incarnational meaning that emerged though interpretation and analysis. He had joy for the works we read and for teaching us how to read them.
What do you remember most about your teachers? What irks you to this day or stays with you in a special place in your heart?