Thursday, November 10, 2011

Marching through time...

....and how time does pass, when we're not looking!  I just noticed about 9 million additional age spots on my HANDS, for god's can I pretend to be 39 with 9 million of them?  

I'm actually joking.  I am home today with a really awful head and chest cold, which forces me to sit down and be quiet and soak in the march of time, my surroundings, the fact of an unfinished book, the prospect of actually finishing it, an attic mostly full of wool, all of those not-yet-imagined sweaters........There is something mostly wonderful about gathering up all of the learning of the past 60+ years (I can't claim to have learned much of value before about, say, age 7, which is when my grandmother taught me to crochet, and when I got into my first spat with a really boring teacher, and also roughly when my mother advised me for the first time to stop being such a smart-mouth!). 

I thought of it again last week when I looked up from the podium in the big freshman class (a survey of modern American history), just after telling a small anecdote, and noticed a very young man making faces at the very young man next to him -- the kind of look and hand gestures that say, "GOD but she's not very cool, really dorky.").  I stopped and looked at him.  He looked shocked, but not embarrassed -- just defiant.  So I let it go.  Hardly worth wasting class time.  But it occurs to me that a barely-socialized brat like that is behaving more or less as I did when I was 7.  He doesn't have a clue, does he, what a professor of history has gathered over 30+ years of in-the-trenches teaching at public universities, where you need to do all kinds of things to make sure that the poor students and the really fine students are equally able to understand what's afoot.  Often, I slide in some personalized material to engage the poorer students, who perk up right away and even start talking.  But -- the brats will just get impatient.  I vividly remember when I was 7, 8, 9, maybe even 10, thinking that the teachers were just horrible old farts, not at all 'with it,' not worth listening to.  On one occasion, by the way, I was right:  They were trying to teach a pretty smart girl-child who got bored easily (I was reading at the 8th grade level in 3rd grade).  But, on other occasions, it's clear to me that I just didn't have enough time on earth to make any kind of judgment. 

Sometimes, students like the impatient young man appear in my university office years later and say, "I see now what you were doing."  But most often not.  They need another 25-30 years to figure out how complex the world really is, and how ungenerous and uncompassionate they're being.

On the studio front:  If you haven't been in the studio lately, get there asap.  We just got a huge trunk show of raku ceramic beads, buttons and jewelry.  That's not even mentioning all of the very cool new yarn.  And gallery sweaters are at least 25% off between now and the end of the year.



  1. Sandra, truly why I never pursued an MFA and college level teaching. I did it for 2 years and was appalled at the maturity/lack of engagement of a majority of the students. Decided to do what I did, and wound up teaching adults (as you well know) which I ADORE doing. Although sometimes trying, they are all there because they want to be. Hugs. lb

  2. lAURA, THANKS. I wish I could somehow pump what they will someday know into their heads NOW. But we cannot. And so I am left often wondering whether I have made even a dent. (I suspect I have -- but the question is whether a dent is enough). Love to you. svb