Monday, August 20, 2012

The story of the course.

Listen up students:

When I first started teaching English 2010, it was long, long ago. I taught in rooms with spare engine parts, which is to say, where they taught people about engines and so forth. When I first started teaching English 2010, it smelled of automotive oil and metal that had once been very hot but which had subsequently cooled.

Later, I got a new book. Then another new book. The first new book was so short-lived that it could not be called an era. It was, perhaps, an incident. But the second new book lasted a very long time.

(NOTE: I think I might be forgetting some parts of this story. But a good story doesn't tell all the parts, because all the parts are not equally important.)

To reprise: The second new book was an era. It was an era with periods within it. The periods were called "first edition," "second edition," and "third edition." When the era came to a close, it was sad for me, although not, perhaps, for everyone. In the passing of this era, I felt the first inklings of the course's extinction.

Then came the era of decline. Whose fault was it? Whose fault is global warming? Everyone's and no one's. And at the point of decline, it seemed sensible to ask: what about the bright line dividing this from that, these from those, what I have right here versus the stuff over yonder? Why bother defending the lines, in these dark times? Why not say, creative isn't so different from expository? And who's going to stop me?

And that, students, is how we ended up here, with the course, English 2010, in front of us. Shiny! It is full of concepts and practices, and soon we will test the seams and joins of it to see if they hold or if they pop. Won't that be fun?

Sincerely--I'm not sure how this turned into a letter, but cheers!

Your faithful instructor.


  1. Good luck tomorrow, hope you have your back to school outfit ready.

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