The Dead Letter Of Education

David Solway, with a depressing tale of why he quit teaching:

…when I briefly tried to introduce my students to a portion of the paronomastic, multi-lingual Wake for the sheer fun of language at its most exuberant, I was rewarded with blank incomprehension. It is, admittedly, a formidable text, but I felt that with some tutorial guidance students might be intrigued by the multiplex resources of the language, its potential to “maximize modularity,” to use an aeronautical phrase. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I did appreciate the following cartoon from a graphically talented student for its cheeky insouciance. Still, it was a sign that students are far more comfortable performing in a visual milieu than in a textual environment, as this student, like the majority of his congeners, experienced significant hardship organizing his thoughts and perceptions both in his verbal presentations and written projects.

I’m still a little rankled by the fact that, with all of the writing I’ve done on the topic, the only journalism award I’ve won from the kids is for animations of space-policy discussion.

Oh, and here’s an example of what a mess things are at my own alma mater in Ann Arbor. And they wonder why I don’t donate to the alumni fund.

5 comments on this post.
  1. Michael:

    Sad. I was really rankled by the description of racism at the school.

    When I attended the UofM I saw only two instances of racism. The first was in the Bursley (sorry I can no longer remember the correct spelling) Hall cafeteria. There was a set of tables that had black enforcers. They made sure that if you were other than black you did not sit there; conversely if you were black they made sure you sat no where else.

    While there my roommate and I did volunteer work at the hospital in Ypsilanti. One winter night, when the weather was beyond atrocious, we offered a lady a ride back to Ann Arbor. She thanked us but declined because she said that if anyone saw a black lady get into a car with two white guys her life would not be worth living.

    The only explanation I can come up with for the current situation, other than PC run amok, is that the student body is now composed of a much lower class of people.

    Glad I went when I did and am really glad I am no longer there. Like you I will not donate to the alumni fund.

  2. ken anthony:

    Those aren’t cave drawings… they’re remedial English!

  3. Flight-ER-Doc:

    I imagine there must be a significant number of allumni who still donate…..

    I cannot imagine why. I don’t donate to ANY of mine, and will not baring a major, tectonic shift in their attitudes.

    I do send Hillsdale College an annual donation, equal to what I might send to the other schools….Hillsdale, and a very few other schools is still legitimately involved in education.

  4. Sigivald:

    Making innocent high school kids read later (rather than earlier) Joyce?

    That’s cruel and unusual punishment, and it’s no indictment of “education” that they didn’t like Finnegan’s Wake.

    I couldn’t stand it, and I’m a voracious reader who happily took high-level English classes for fun while pursuing an unrelated degree.

  5. Jon:

    Ohio State keeps emailing me and asking if I’d like to register for classes. I finally told them that they’re far too expensive and I’d probably be kicked out for being politically incorrect.

    I doubt I will get a response.