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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Off Topic: A Moment from Teaching Paradise Lost

Oh, I know you may scoff at me and my students. After all, I teach at a state institution for average students. Among the least interested of my charges: the students in my REQUIRED survey of British Literature, for non-majors. Very few want to be there, needless to say.

I made my poor kids read big chunks of Paradise Lost. Perhaps it's more accurate to say I dragged them through it. Then, I had them do an assignment which involved writing out lines on certain topics (to prevent the dreaded copy/paste) and then saying what the lines mean.

This fellow presented these lines by the Son of God as he talks to God the Father.

O Father, gracious was that word which clos'd
Thy sovran sentence, that Man should find grace; [ 145 ]
For which both Heav'n and Earth shall high extoll
Thy praises, with th' innumerable sound
Of Hymns and sacred Songs, wherewith thy Throne
Encompass'd shall resound thee ever blest.
For should Man finally be lost, should Man [ 150 ]
Thy creature late so lov'd, thy youngest Son
Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though joynd
With his own folly? that be from thee farr,
That farr be from thee, Father, who art Judg
Of all things made, and judgest onely right

Noting that "most people don't know how life was for the Son before he came to earth" (true!), he went on to explain

Dad, I know u love your creations, so why not let me go down there and help them get on the right track before you go A Wall (AWOL??) on them in a sense.

That seems about right, don't u think?

I am so happy when they get even a little!


Renee @ AddMoreChocolate said...

I think this is wonderful! You keep dragging them through this beautiful, amazing, soul-enriching language. You never know (and neither to they!) when the words will come back to them.

Blessings on your teaching!

itsmidnight said...

I was strangely moved by this....I can't describe it. The stark contrast in writing style yet they both said the same thing. Beautiful, thank you.

Diane said...

Wonderful! Thank you for showing us your student's thoughtfulness. This helps confirm to me that students really want to get it, if only we can find a path to them.

SewingLibrarian said...

No scoffing here. Bravo to your student, and brava to you for getting Milton across to them.

Shelley said...

Teaching is a tough job, so it's only fair that there are some rewards along the way. As an ordinary person who attended two state universities, I'd be the last person to scoff. In fact I don't really want to know anyone who would.

Frugal Scholar said...

@All--Thanks for your kind comments. I have taken so long to reply because I was overpowered by a dreadful flu...almost better. The student, by the way, was very proud the other day: "I haven't fallen asleep for the LAST 3 CLASSES."