Monday, January 23, 2006

living in the isthmus

Today was my fifth day at Mandeville High School. There was a bad case of fog on the Causeway (looked like we were streaking through milk) so drivers were forced to use only the right lane and to drive at 45 MPH, so I was five minutes late for school. A teacher was looking for me a minute before I got to school and came to my room and the kids told her I was "out making copies."
First period. Friday we read an excerpt from Alexander Pope's piece about the nature of man, about the dichotomous, paradoxical nature of man, and they loved it. Here's the piece:

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest,
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his Mind or Body to prefer,
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much:
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself abus'd, or disabus'd;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of Truth, in endless Error hurl'd:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!

I haven't gotten myself together yet, though the first moment I was face to face with the students, on my first day back, I felt the groove, and I was happy again. But I haven't put together any lesson plans or even know what I'm doing from one day to the next. I keep finding poems to discuss with them and we're then writing, and they're so willing. It's glorious. However, I need a bigger picture, and I need to find my stapler and such things in the stuff I brought from Douglass. I had a box full of twenty years worth of essays I'd clipped out of various publications, which I use to show students what a good essay looks like (rather than attempt to "teach" them how to write) and that has been lost somewhere at Douglass. That's the only thing I'm sad to have lost.
I've been thinking non-stop about being there at MHS again, about having been at Douglass, about kids, about society, but haven't yet had the moment to stop and pull my thoughts together. But I will. And when I do, I'll be rolling more consistently on the blog again. But I can say this: I did not make the wrong decision.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad to hear that you are again teaching.

10:47 PM  
Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Lovely! I hope easch day seems to be as filled with promise and copacetic synergy.

Welcome back to the classroom!

11:09 PM  

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