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  1. #61
    / nonsequitur's Avatar
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    I agree with the OP. I despised every single one of my English/Literature teachers. None - and I do mean none - of them inspired me through 12 years of education, even when I was put in supposedly "advanced" English classes. Often, I found that they were less well-read, less well-informed and had exceedingly narrow views.

    "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Calling of Kindred" were required reading in one of our literature classes, and my passion for reading died when they were deconstructed, line-by-line, with literal, unoriginal interpretations of the text. There was no in-depth examination of the themes, what it all means in the big picture, the work's significance and historical context etc. I hated Shakespeare because of the way I was taught "Julius Caesar", and the version/interpretation of the text that we were given was incredibly shallow.

    That's to say nothing of the fact that my 8th grade teacher said, "who?" when I said that I'd hypothetically like to interview Slobodan Milosevic as a class project (for context, this was the year that ethnic cleansing was carried out in Yugoslavia). I lost all respect for her in that one moment.

    I never felt challenged or inspired by any of my English teachers, who were just there for the paycheck. On the other hand, I loved and was inspired by every single Chemistry teacher who taught me. Guess what I eventually majored in?

  2. #62
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    I don't have much of a problem with English itself. In fact, I find origins of spelling and grammar pretty interesting. However, this is why I'm taking French, not English.

    I've only really had two English teachers who were pretty cool. Once in 6th grade, and then 9th and 10th (same teacher). The second one I think became that way because she had to try to manage 40 different independent student projects at one time and couldn't be too bothered by any one off-the-wall theory.

    The others... well. I have a feeling that 'English' is a black hole of people who like to opinion about old guys at you (yes, I did just verb 'opinion' intransatively. And I did just adverb 'intransitive.' So there.) and don't really like to take in other opinions. My Lit teacher this year kept insisting that Ethan Frome was about a tragic hero, when just about every other person I've ever talked to considered him pathetic. She goes psycho whenever anything at all is written in pencil. When she asks for an 'original, well-thought-out' interpretation, she really wants us to read her mind.

    See, I don't really care when a teacher notes that I didn't stay in the same tense throughout a paper. Fine. I need that. But, despite having Ni, I'm NOT a mind-reader. Literature class is more of a practice of figuring out how to please the teacher than actually thinking now. Though it's more of a challenge, it's not a pleasant one.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  3. #63
    Senior Member Works's Avatar
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    English teacher here. I've taught 6-12th grade.

    We suck because we want to make our students' lives as miserable as possible. We need more fodder for the books we're writing so we can escape this job. Stephen King did it I know.



    On a sidenote. I'm not a crazy old lady. I'm a 24 year old young professional. I'm laidback, pretty nerdy in my classroom but demand excellence from my students. I'll work you.

  4. #64
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Works View Post
    On a sidenote. I'm not a crazy old lady. I'm a 24 year old young professional. I'm laidback, pretty nerdy in my classroom but demand excellence from my students. I'll work you.
    Something I always had a problem with, both in Italian and English, is teachers that demand excellence. Not because I want to slack, but due to the fact that languange is an inherently not-well-defined subject, so excellence cannot be unambiguously identified and graded. This is the reason why, in spite being good at it, I disliked language classes so much (with the exception of grammar stuff, of course, which can be objectively graded).
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  5. #65
    WTF is this dude saying? A Schnitzel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orangey View Post
    I'm almost sure that a critical theory class (at least the way I've experienced them) would only confirm risen's notion that English teachers are rigid and dogmatic. And I say this not as a criticism of critical theory, but rather because I get the feeling that this whole topic stems more from political conflicts than from problems with course mechanics or design.

    And actually, it's not just a feeling that I'm getting. There is a trend in this thread involving those with known non-American-version-of-liberal political leanings having problems with their English teachers/profs/instructors. I think this is the result of one of three things:

    1. The teacher/prof/instructor awarded lower grades to student X because his/her work reflected a different political ideology than the professor's (which, in the case of English classes, is usually very liberal in the contemporary American sense of the term).

    2. The teacher/prof/instructor didn't present (or entertain) any political perspective as valid other than the one that he/she already held.

    3. As a student, person X didn't want to hear any ideas other than the one that he/she had already set out to invest themselves in intellectually and emotionally, and therefore had a de-facto problem with the instructor that encouraged students to look at issues from a different (and probably polar opposite) political perspective.

    Personally, I've never really seen any of #1 happening, but I've seen a little of #2 (depending on the instructor, of course), and a lot of #3. Of course, it could just be that people have problems with the overall design of their English courses, or the personalities of their particular instructors...if so, my post doesn't apply to you.
    I don't understand. What does English have to do with politics?

  6. #66
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Schnitzel View Post
    I don't understand. What does English have to do with politics?
    As counterintuitive as it is, everything.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  7. #67
    Senior Member Works's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Something I always had a problem with, both in Italian and English, is teachers that demand excellence. Not because I want to slack, but due to the fact that languange is an inherently not-well-defined subject, so excellence cannot be unambiguously identified and graded. This is the reason why, in spite being good at it, I disliked language classes so much (with the exception of grammar stuff, of course, which can be objectively graded).
    Would you rather I go the American way and demand mediocrity?

    While I would say that language is a broad subject, there are definitely skills and categories within the subject that are narrowly defined and more easily assessed.

    Do you dislike the subjectivity of assessment? Do you prefer grading that has a clearly defined right and wrong answer?

  8. #68
    Senior Member Works's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Schnitzel View Post
    I don't understand. What does English have to do with politics?
    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    As counterintuitive as it is, everything.
    Ever read any George Orwell? Not just his fiction, but his political writings on language?

  9. #69
    / nonsequitur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Schnitzel View Post
    I don't understand. What does English have to do with politics?
    Julius Caesar. Othello. To Kill a Mockingbird. (Just to name a few works.)

    Can't say that they have nothing to do with politics (or racial relations). Most great modern works of literature are inherently political. If there's no basic understanding of the underlying attitudes and assumptions or its modern relevance, it's impossible to teach the text in any level of depth. (That was my biggest gripe about my teachers)

  10. #70
    WTF is this dude saying? A Schnitzel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haphazard View Post
    As counterintuitive as it is, everything.
    Are they inextricable, or this how the system is currently set up?

    One can analyze the theme of a literary work without relating it to ideas that are politically oriented.

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