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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Thana-fuckin'-topsis

Beware. English Lit content to follow, as well as excessive swearing. May induce choking on a snore during a narcoleptic fit. Don't sue.


So I'm doing American Romanticism w/my horrid Juniors, and the last three days we've been doing Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant. You know--that really depressing meditation on death, where his one silver lining was, hey, you're gonna die, but at least you get to rot with all of the other folks who went before you, and all the people who didn't care that you went are gonna come after.

*Yeah* That's a tough sell, ain't it?

And they wouldn't shut the up. I mean, they wouldn't shut the FUCK up for this. And I got pissed!

"Hey! You people (assholes) are always talking about how they don't teach you anything important in school--well this guy is talking about death. I mean--D.E.A.T.H. Seriously, people (morons) does it get any more important than D.E.A.T.H.? No? I didn't fuckin' think so."

And I actually got some quiet. (And for the record, and for whoever at work keeps telling the administration that I'm blogging about them? NO. I don't actually swear in class. But it makes a much better story that way.)

And then, I had them. I mean...I don't know what big karmic gorilla was standing behind me with a big-assed spike-covered mace, but there was (at last!) some blissful freakin' quiet in my room. Well, with a few exceptions.

And I had one of those 'karmic gorilla with a big freakin' mace' moments, and I turned to this kid and said, "Hey man, (fuckhead) this guy was sixteen years old when he wrote this--I mean, he was YOUR AGE. Think about all of the word pollution you vomit into the world. E-mail, text messaging, this crap about nothing that your fouling my air up with right now as I'm talking about D.E.A.T.H. Think about all of the useless disposable words you have contaminated your air with. Is any of that going to be useful tomorrow? The day after? When you die? This guy's words have been around for TWO-HUNDRED-FUCKING YEARS! These are NOT DISPOSABLE WORDS. If you think you can do one thing, right now, that will be around for TWO-HUNDRED-FUCKING-YEARS then by all means. Go ahead and keep talking through me. But if not, I think you owe Mr. William Cullen Bryant and his two-hundred-year-old meditation on fucking death some fucking respect, DON'T YOU?"

They listened. They responded. They thought.

Of course they forgot all about it today, but yesterday, I had them. I had done it. I had fought the bullshit and won and actually taught something real, and dammit I'm fuckin' proud of myself.

And you wanna know the kicker?

I hated William Cullen Bryant in high school.

Holy shit, I'm good.

7 comments:

Bells said...

God you rock. You really rock, Amy. Well done!

Donna Lee said...

If you can make 16 year olds quiet down during that, you are an uber-teacher! I hated it in high school and college and I was an English major (useful, that). But what a thought-how many people will read our words 200 years from now (as I sit at my computer spewing out disposable words)?

Julie said...

Hell, I hate William Cullen Bryant NOW. Depressing SOB, isn't he? But that's not the point. The point is, you got the little bastards to shut up, pay attention, and then the biggie, THINK. Bravo. The part about 'is your crap more profound than this?' was truly brilliant. If I'd been there, I'd have applauded.

Well done.

Roxie said...

You, my dear, are bodacious! Bookmark this day and refer to it when you wonder why you teach. Sometimes, You. Get. Through.

Yayyyy! Champagne and confetti and wreaths of glory for you!

TinkingBell said...

Oh I am in awe! Well done!! (I personally don't think some people -includung myself at that age) shoul actually be allowed to count as human! - And some people want them to be allowed to vote! Give me strength!

Galad said...

Congratulations - you are awesome!

Em said...

Wow, I'm impressed. Way to tell those little helldemons to shut up and listen. And what a way to do it! I'm proud of you for getting through to them, it's more difficult that I like to admit, being not so far removed from that horrific teenager thing.