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Essays Bill Morris April 28, 2 books mentioned 22 11 min read 1. While living in Germany three years ago, I talked my way into a job teaching high school students how to write fiction — in English.
The administrator who hired me, normally a stickler about credentials like any self-respecting German bureaucrat, was willing to ignore the fact that I had never taught anything to anyone.
In her eyes, I offered something far more Essays about jasper johns than a teaching certificate or classroom experience. I was a published American novelist.
The dozen sophomores and juniors who'd signed up for the after-school class were fluent in English and able to write solid sentences, but they were initially a bit leery of me.
When I tried to get them to create characters from whole cloth, to imagine problems for them, to dream up action that would dramatize how they grappled with those problems, the students balked.
For nearly a dozen years they'd been conditioned by a system that rewarded them for doing things the right way. This school was a gymnasium with a hard gthe highest level of high school, and these students would soon be taking the brutal Abitur, the week-long written and oral exam that makes the American SAT look like a pop quiz and which would determine which of them was worthy of the Holy Grail: Understandably, it took these students a while to grasp what I was telling them: This Amerikaner is standing up there telling us we get to make stuff up!
Once they got it, they took to fiction writing the way birds take to the blue. Confessions of an Accidental Academicthe chilling new book about the travails of an adjunct professor of college English who goes by the pseudonym Professor X.
His students, at an unnamed private college and an unnamed community college somewhere in America, could not have been more unlike my German charges. While my high schoolers were gamely writing fiction in a second and in some cases third language, Professor X's college students could barely put together grammatical sentences in their native tongue.
The reason was that his students and the people who "prepared" them for college had bought into one of the most common and debilitating American myths — namely, that everyone has an inalienable right to a college education, regardless of their level of academic achievement.
Many are in over their heads They lack rudimentary skills; in some cases, they are not even functionally literate Some are not ready for high school, much less college. Trying to get ahead, of course, trying to position themselves to get their slice of that big gooey pie known as the American Dream.
And in one of those snake-eating-its-tail scenarios, as more and more Americans, both qualified and unqualified, enroll in colleges, more and more employers are able to demand that job seekers have some college education, even for jobs that patently do not require it.
Professor X calls this "credential inflation" and he explains its existence this way: But there is a price attached to this relentless expansionism. Infewer than half of bachelor's degree recipients graduated with debt; by the figure had risen to more than two-thirds. It's also available only to those students who have proved, over the course of 12 rigorous years, that they deserve to attend.
As Professor X writes: They have been abducted into college, sold a bill of goods Without heaping too much solemnity upon it, college is something that one must ascend to. To suggest that someone should be excluded from college because he or she is not equipped to ascend is to open yourself to the predictable charges of elitism, classism love that word!
These charges take me back to my teaching experience in Germany. I did not teach at some pricey private prep school; it was an ordinary public high school in a small town outside Cologne, yet the students were no strangers to the concepts of exclusion and ascending — or, if you will, elitism.
After fourth grade, all German students are put on one of four tracks on the basis of teacher evaluations:Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional academic writers.
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Her publications on Johns include Jasper Johns’ Paintings and Sculptures, – “The Changing Focus of the Eye,” UMI Research Press () and “Seeing a Thing Can Sometimes Trigger the Mind to Make Another Thing,” catalogue essay for Jasper Johns: A .
Famous art and artists in Minimalism with analysis of achievements and overall contributions to the movement.
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His essay on “Jasper Johns’s Bridge Paintings Under Construction” was published in Jasper Johns: New Paintings and Works on Paper, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, SF, He has for the past twenty years contributed reviews and articles to The Art Bulletin, Apollo, The Burlington Magazine.