29 October 2008

This week, teaching

Ludovico Carracci, Saint Sebastian Thrown into the Cloaca Maxima. 1612, oil on canvas. J. Paul Getty Trust.

A group that I was really having trouble with -- it turns out, it's not just me, they really are a bad group.

While using the structure: _____ is good, but _____ is better, and _____ is bad, but ______ is worse, I got two fascinating answers:
Film is good, but theatre is better.
Tears are bad, but grief is worse.
These kids can be deep, I swear. I love how theatre is an entertainment option just as accessible as going to the movies, which also do not cost the obscene amount that they tend to in America. Last night I went to see Paris, Je T'Aime and it cost under $4. Live theatre does not cost much more, and every school kid gets subsidized tickets, without asking for them, without any special programs. That's what I call an arts policy.

One of my colleagues handed me a stack of projects to look at -- basically, a bunch of very well-designed compositions. One, about the homeless, said that the homeless live in cloaca. The word choice is what made it so memorable. It definitely works, it's just also obviously from a dictionary or something and would not be part of the vocabulary of your average 5th grader.

Finally, a quick rant about the present tense. I'm sick of it. Specifically, I'm sick of the present simple and the present continuous. They're really hard to explain, and it's even harder to explain why something like "I is reads" is not a correct grammatical structure. Hurrah for more Latin-based languages (arguably, a ton of English is Latin, but obviously the grammar is not) which only have one present tense that expresses both simple and continuous.

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