I am a ghostwriter, my own ghostwriter. So while this blog is indeed mine, it is that of the shadowed selves i sometimes fail to recognise as being me. If writing writes you, sometimes revealing those things that you hadn't intended for it to say,* then I write with the intention of exposing me to myself. sketching serendipity therefore depicts a series of thoughts and experiences in the hope of projecting a multidimensional self-portrait in the making.

* J.M Coetzee's theories on writing in Doubling The Point.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Teachers: unacknowledged experts in their fields...

Observing teachers who have 20+ years’ practice in teaching English language and literature is an overwhelming and intimidating experience. They teach literature as if they know the texts by heart (which I am beginning to think they do), and respond to students’ questions in ways that are indicative of their clear confidence before a classroom. Although I consider myself to be confident in my knowledge of literature at 3rd year level, I don't have the ability to confidently prattle off Shakespeare as if it were the chorus of a song. How do teachers remember random verses and their places within various texts with such precision? That’s my classroom observation ‘wow’ moment.

Indeed, there are as many literary texts in the world as there are people (which may be an exaggeration – or not) and it is a fact which bothers me. At present, I am reading through Othello, The Great Gatsby, notes on visual literacy, The Kite Runner, Macbeth, and poetry.  These texts are but drops in an ocean of literature, the majority of which I feel I ought to know and understand well enough to be qualified to teach. Nonetheless, all marvellous teachers were budding experts at one point in their lives. For me, that point is here, the Right Now of today.


  1. I'm a licensed literature teacher but I never taught.
    I didn't want to follow the academical life because I don't want to know by heart two or three books and only take a glimpse at some others.
    That's what happens with many literature teachers. They know the authors they choose to write their dissertation and thesis and can speak for hours about them. If you happen to like them it will be a good class.
    One of the problems is that: "why they never choose the authors we like?" lol
    Another problem is that when we "study" literature we also have to read theory literary or philosophy.
    When I was at college I read the authors that I had to do papers and theory that was not given at college. The best authors I read I chose them and were not at the lists.
    I'm terrible in memorizing even those I like. For me it is also a mystery how they memorize. But I don't want to know by heart because I like reading and reading the authors I like.

  2. I just woke up. Hope it makes sense.

  3. Hi Ana

    The fact that there are so many literary texts out there is what makes learning fun - there's just no end to all the reading! The first time that i came across literary theory/ philosophy, i felt that i was beginning to truly understand and appreciate literature.

    As for the literary cannons, they haven't changed much since the last century and we have yet to experience a countering hegemony.
    Although, we can always become pioneers of sorts...


  4. hi rawiyah..what a wonderful surprise to visit such a great blog.. i am not very literate in literature ha ha
    in college, when this subject was on, i hid myself in the bookshop and read magazines lol now end up in finance..
    my tutor used to say "Within this 4 walls , iam king". he must be very upset :) looking forward to "blogwalk" to your other sites

  5. This morning I was here and now I'm here again! Didn't comment earlier cos encountered some net problems.

    This is a great post about some constraints you face in Literature. I learnt literature, too. Shakespeare's works are tough! We need to crack our minds to understand it. I don't really understand classical language but for the sake of passing the examination, I had to learn it! During my university's days, I learnt the works of great poets from Shakespear's time onwards. It was really tough trying to comprehend literary works but there was so much fun. Glad that I got through.

  6. Ola Rawiyah, que honra receber sua visita em meu blog, que maravilha a oportunidade de compartilhar receitas, textos, histórias, fique a vontade em voltar ao Dieta! Tô Fora, sempre que quiseres, estaras dando um passeio rapido pelo nosso País ( Brasil ) pois é assim que sinto, quando os visito.Parabéns pelo seu blog, é lindo. Sucesso em sua Vida. Beijos

  7. AH! Teras meu apoio para o blog de receitas, quero ver a cultura gastronomica de seu País. Sucesso.

  8. Geovana!

    Google-translating your comments are fun and interesting. I can read Portuguese with precision but comprehending it is something else.

    Oh well, i know a bit of Spanish (which i am told is similar to Portuguese), so buenas tardes to you!

  9. Cooking varieties:

    We were bound to come across each others' sites, since we seem to follow and check out the same blogs. Now our paths will cross more often:)

    Indeed, literature and finance are two opposite fields, but one's tastes and interests are hardly one-dimensional - especially when blogs and other such media expose and invite us to discover those things that encompass the world and beyond.

    And as for the tea recipes, they give me something different to do with my hot drinks. Thanks!

  10. Balqis:

    "It was really tough trying to comprehend literary works"

    These works may well inspire a new post!

    Thanks for the inspiration, i appreciate it when someone provides a platform for an interesting discussion or article.

    Thank you:)

  11. Hi,

    Zezebel template is from here:

    There are lots of nice templates there.
    A Brazilian came here. lol
    I don'n understand why some Brazilians write in Portuguese in blogs in English. Anyway...

    With time the number of authors you have to read decreases.
    I like rereading more than reading. :)

  12. I believe you should change for the pop-up window for comments.
    Its easier and we don't have to change the page.

  13. Hi Ana
    With regard to the comments page, I agree. I've been wanting to change mine to one that is similar to the one i found at http://protes-stavrou.blogspot.com/
    It's changed this way only temporarily. I'll scout around for something better soon. And thanks for the link!