I became sure that I was no longer a good teacher when, instead of turning the lights on, I preferred to turn them off

Rubem Alves talks a lot about teaching, but this also pertains to the creative act, which is his main focus.

I became sure that I was no longer a good teacher when, instead of turning the lights on, I preferred to turn them off…

Indeed, I love the mist which covers mountains and abysses, and I feel sorry when the sun dispels it because my imagination, together with elves and leprechauns, is deprived of the mist-eerie atmosphere without which it cannot breathe.

And I also love the darkness which abides inside the deep and lovely woods of Frost’s poetry, and the light which fractures through unquiet waters in Eliot’s poems, and the eerie atmosphere of the gothic cathedral, which reminds me of the entrails of the great fish inside the sea: a sunken cathedral…My whole Being reverberates, and I know that it belongs to the darkness of the woods, to the depth of the sea, to the mystery of the cathedral…if lights are turned on I am homeless…

This makes me think about Raymond Carver’s short story “Cathedral” and the mystery of the blind man giving the seeing man new sight.

What Happened Yesterday

These are some things that happened in my life yesterday:

The sewer in our house backed up. I didn’t have anything in the dungeon when it happened, but I smelled it when I got home. We turned off the heat so the smell would go away. My housemate and I were laughing about it in the kitchen while we looked for food. He had to take his hockey gear to the car wash and spray off the sewage from it. He spent 12 dollars spraying off the sewage from his gear.

At school I ran into a guy I had a class with last year. He’s sort of strung out. Like it’s obvious he got into drugs in high school and never stopped. But he’s still sharp and well spoken. I asked him what his Thanksgiving plans were and he said he was going to Latin America. I said, Oh, like for the weekend? He said, No, like for months. He was buying a motorcycle and traveling by himself. I didn’t ask him why.

In the fiction class we broke up into small groups and read short stories about a particular job. I was absent the previous class so I didn’t have a story, but I listened to the other three in my group. The best story was about a paparazzi guy who happened to photograph a celebrities death. We were supposed to pick the best story and have them read in front of the whole class. I was the odd man out so they made me pick, but I didn’t want to so I made the three of them play 1s and 2s, where you throw a one or a two down and whoever is odd man out loses. The first time they all threw twos down and the second time the guy with the paparazzi story lost. He went with one.

In my other writing class the prof asked rhetorically, “If you were a teacher and knew that it was one of your student’s last days to live, would you teach differently?”

Is College Worthless?

A twenty year college professor is leaving his job because:

…most of today’s college students, especially those that come to college straight from high school, are unnecessarily coddled. Professors and administrators seek to “nurture” and “engage” and they are doing so at the expense of teaching. The result: a discernable and precipitous decline in the quality of college students. More of them come to campus with dreadful study habits. Too few of them read for pleasure. Too many drink and smoke excessively. They are terribly ill-prepared for four years of hard work, and most dangerously, they do not think that college should be arduous. Instead they perceive college as an overnight recreation center in which they exercise, eat, and in between playing extracurricular sports, they carry books around. If a professor is lucky, the books are being skimmed hours before class.

[here via PW]