stupid teacher stories

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Thu Jan 6 22:32:07 EST 2000

On Thu, 6 Jan 2000 14:12:57 -0800 (PST), Jennifer Forsyth wrote:

>When I taught a class called "Reading and Interpreting" to a group of
>English majors this summer, I asked everybody to tell a story about a time
>when somebody disagreed with their interpretation of literature or when
>somebody really liked it. All except one cited a bad experience, usually
>from an English teacher, and most were real horror stories--the sort of
>thing you laugh at in movies because it seems so improbable. 

I think the horror stories are either more common or more memorable.  I can
only remember one really positive one--in college, when I wrote a paper on
"The Lady of Shalott" (something about marginalizing women, I don't remember
exactly) and included a copy of Loreena McKennitt's musical treatment of
same.  (That was a pretty good reading, if I recall.  The paper might be
around here any rate I remember feeling pleased about my

>responses were along the lines of "You obviously haven't READ the
>story/poem/play or you wouldn't have said that" (when given the details,
>I was invariably honestly able to give the student's interpretation at
>least as much credit as whatever their teacher had said; one of the ones
>that still makes me cringe was when a teacher said, regarding a
>14-year-old's meditations on the kind of love Romeo and Juliet
>felt, "What makes you think YOU'RE qualified to have an opinion?" [try
>reading this out loud and really sneering. It may lose something in
>translation to e-mail.]

This is about the funniest thing I've read all day!  The NERVE of a
14-year-old to have opinions about Romeo and Juliet!

Melissa Proffitt
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