Category Archives: Teaching

Frustules, not Frustrating

My friend Jerry, a scientist who studies Lake Erie algae, visited the GED class where I tutor to talk about his work. I learned a lot about his research, and I also learned some new words, which I’ve had fun investigating. Jerry studies … Continue reading

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Moby and Me

Howard Vincent, author of two books about Herman Melville, The Trying-Out of Moby-Dick (1949) and The Tailoring of Melville’s White Jacket (1970), was my favorite professor at Kent State University. He had, in my memory, an elfin appearance: white of hair, bushy of … Continue reading

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Tootle Your Horn with Vigor

Many people will recognize “tootle your horn” as a weirdly wonderful translation, from Japanese to English, of an admonition to drivers. When one translates from one language to another, normal usage sometimes falls by the wayside, and screwy translations result. (Find more funny examples here.) In … Continue reading

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Ad Astra Per Errores Multos

Caleb’s Crossing by Gwendolyn Brooks, a recent selection of my book group, concerns young Puritans in early America, growing up and getting educated. The Latin they were studying contained a number of errors, showing exceeding carelessness, I thought, on the part … Continue reading

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Measuring Education

I tutor once a week in a GED program in the Kinsman neighborhood of Cleveland, where my church used to be. I’ve been touched, the last two weeks, by my interactions with students. Touched, infuriated, sobered, and enlightened. Last week, a … Continue reading

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School’s out. A big perk of college teaching is the early end of the school year. We’ve had beautiful weather this week, and I’ve already planted tomatoes and flowers. I had a good school year with lots of wonderful students … Continue reading

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To vent means to express a strong emotion. I am about to vent in the hopes of ending my perseverating. To perseverate, a psychological term, means to repeat a response after the cessation of the stimulus. In my case, right … Continue reading

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That Soft Bastard Latin

A friend recently asked me, as people often do, why my students have signed up for Latin. (Her tone indicated this was a nutty choice in 2011.) I offered all the usual reasons. Some are interested in law or medicine and … Continue reading

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A Valentine

Mrs. Morgan’s tenth-grade English class changed my life in a number of ways. “Maybe once in a very great while,” she would tell us, “you write something perfectly the first time.” Then, smiling empathetically, she would add, “That doesn’t happen very … Continue reading

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