Friday, September 05, 2008

Teaching. You're doing something right ...

... when your students leave the room singing.

This week in my honours seminar I taught several extracts from Froissart's Chronicles of the 100 Years' War: the battle of Crécy and the siege of Calais. It came in between The Knight's Tale and Troilus and Criseyde, which we start next week — four or five weeks that are usually the highlight of my teaching year.

We were all horribly struck, though, by Froissart's comments about Edward wanting to re-populate Calais with English blood. (I don't have my text in front of me, so can't quote.) I hadn't really thought of Edward as engaged in ethnic cleansing, but there it was.

However, even after this gruesome thought, as we were all packing up and leaving the ridiculously large room (there are nine enrolled students and one auditing/co-teaching graduate student), I distinctly heard one, and possibly another, singing.

I always associate singing with good cheer. It's typically a sign that Joel is better after being sick, for example, when I hear him singing around the house. At that sign, my mother's heart just releases that locked-up anxiety that surrounds a sick child.

He is home today, as it happens, with a barking cough; looking unaccustomedly pale and wan. So it'll be soup for lunch and lots of tea. I'll just put the kettle on now.

5 comments:

Pavlov's Cat said...

Wow. The last time I saw a student walk off singing was 1978 when I was taking my first-ever first-year tutorials, as a casually employed postgrad, and the student in question had just told me she was dropping out of university to concentrate on her singing career. It was Fran Kelly.

Ceirseach said...

Ah, and I just left that seminar with my brain busily turning over the possible links between Gawain's girdle, Isabella's public relations campaigns, Froissart's narrative style and Edward's attempts to write his court as the new Camelot!

So many interesting blog posts to write, so little time.

Jeffrey J. Cohen said...

My students sing all the time as class ends -- songs about escaping from jail or the insane asylum, songs about gaining freedom after long imprisonment...

Zoe said...

Pav, I saw her singing on an ABC Christmas ad one year and was impressed! Also, I am a total Fran fangrrrl.

I hope your boy's better, soon, Stephanie. That was a lovely, lovely post.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Excellent! A new category: famous students wot we have taught... Wonder how embarrassed they would be!