Adventures in English I sat

Adventures in English

I sat down just now because I want to do an entry, not because I have something to write about - I'm winging it.

My friend Phil just IMed me to let me know that the eclipse was almost total, at the moment. I went outside to see it, but the sky was overcast. So now I'm cold and slightly
disappointed. Brrr.

There was an interesting exchange in English today between the teacher, Ms. Lord, and myself. We were talking about
analyzing literature, and she posed to the class the question "is there ever just one right answer?" (Knowing Ms. Lord, this is a rhetorical question.)

I happened to make eye contact at an unfortunate moment, and she gave me an expression indicating that she wanted me to answer. I knew "no" was the answer she was looking for. It was especially
poignant that she ask me because she thinks that getting me to see everything from her subjective and relativist perspective
should be her personal didactic quest. This is because at the beginning of the course, two years ago, I was hooked on the idea of their only being one right answer. (Coming from a strong science and math background, this is understandable, imo.) Of course, since then I have become more open-minded, but she is still stuck in the mindset that I'm some hard-core absolutist. So when I say something like, "I'm not sure, I guess you could look at it both ways," she'll
say, "and we know that's a big step for you, Aaron."

Anyway, I knew she was looking for a "no". And I know one thing that bugs her is when I give the first response that comes to mind, rather than actually thinking about what she said. So, I immediately responded with "sometimes," figuring that was a safely ambiguous answer that would stir her up a bit. My honest answer to the question: I'm not sure, I guess you could look at it both ways. :-) To my response, she lets out a big sigh, as if to say "two years of thought-conditioning, and we still haven't gotten anywhere". Somebody else then gave the 'correct' answer, no. She made some serious remark about how I need to see the truth in that answer, though she doubts I ever will. Then the bell rang.

Thirty seconds later, I was at my locker, and came up with a great rebuttal. The ideal thing for me to have said in response to her question would have been, "the one right answer to that question is 'no'." But it was too late. Oh well.

. . .

Ms. Lord and I have a unique relationship. She knows that I am extremely self-confident, and therefore gets a kick out of picking on me. (Actually, all my teachers get a kick out of picking on me, and they all say it's because of my self-confidence.) But, Ms. Lord is
no different from me. She feels that she needs to be an expert on every topic - from slavery and the civil war to the Greek legal system. But it seems like she memorizes some completely obscure and minute detail, and uses that to prove that she has extensive knowledge on a subject. Maybe I'm just
jealous that Ms. Lord would never reveal a weakness.

When I got back from Cape Town a few weeks ago, I was talking to her about the religious conference I attended there. I told her the major change the conference had evoked in me was that I was more humanist.

"Ah," she said wisely, "have you read any major humanist writers?"

"No, I just talked to people and was exposed to the idea."

"Well, you really should read some of the humanist literature out there. It's quite profound."

Later in the day, I have Ms.Davis for my Theory of Knowledge class, who also works in the English department. She said,

"Aaron, what the heck is a humanist? Ms. Lord and I had never even heard of that before."

Ms. Lord had no idea what a humanist was! Grrr. I wish I had called her on it earlier, when she was acting like she was quite familiar with the philosophy.

So it goes. Perhaps it's for the best that I didn't get the chance to rub her ignorance in her face. I don't know why I feel as though I should compete with her. Maybe because I think we have
similar strong personality types, that tend to clash when in close proximity.

PS: I was really touched by Melissa's compliments,
referring to my previous entry. Thank you, Melissa. You inspire me, too.

← Previously: What if… | All posts | Next: Blue We have a snow →