Coming Off Teaching

It’s the end of the semester. Kysa and I discussed and recorded grades for the large course in Cultural Pluralism this morning. It is now mid-afternoon, and I am somewhat fragile, fragmented, and frustrated.

Playing the violin just now, trying to pay attention especially to intonation – playing pretty much in tune – I feel the need to express thoughts, to reconcile the fragility with the sense that it is time to move ahead. No longer needing to get up early in the morning with the idea of having to teach always and persistently wandering in my mind, I am free. Or sort of…free.

I review the course, fleetingly, with certain moments of contention and towering success (Ha!) vying with my remaining in the present. Wondering what I, what they could have done more or better, or with an energy which might translate into long-terms of growth and grandness for them…and for me. I review…and wonder.

I wander. My mind floats to the other course – Teaching as a Dialogue – which was for more advanced students, people, thinkers, wanting (would-have, should-have thought) to be teachers, themselves, to the worlds of their futures, and to the future of the world. We never reconciled, nor much discussed with much direction, the question of authority. Dialogue, thought an older student, is somehow between equals, or between all people. I tried to state, with some authority of my own, that dialogue between equals might lead somewhere, but might drown into the “Lord of the Flies” in which apparent equality degenerates/develops into tyranny. Without any sense of authority, and some accompanying sense of directedness, there isn’t much left…a nililism, a cynicism, some cunning whose cunning turns where it will, and where it can because everyone else is denying what’s happening.

Back to the fiddle, fiddling with the ideas and with Bach who wants to be played with somewhat more attention than I think I have on the day I am coming off teaching.