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​Compassion—the Elements of Teaching 8.3

THE PROFESSIONAL LIFE of Harriet Stiles was gratifying enough for her. She had been a successful student, and her willing industry, combined with a certain standoffishness toward her classmates and contemporaries, had led her own teachers to think that she had the right stuff to make a good teacher. Her parents had also insisted that she train for a career in teaching; they had persuaded her that, married or not, she would always be assured of a reliable source of income by teaching and that, if they were to be blessed with grandchildren through her, it would be a great convenience to her to enjoy the same periods of leisure during school vacations as did her children. So young Harriet earned a degree in English, acquired the necessary certification in education, and quickly secured a teaching post. She wondered from time to time whether she had the aptitude, inclination, or taste for the kind of work that her elders had marked out for her. But independent thought was not her strong point. And, after all,there are many who have chosen their careers in life from slighter motives and with more threadbare purposes.

今天故事是个负面案例。(我觉得负面案例更好。以人为镜,你就知道哪些该做哪些不该做了。)
主人公叫Harriet Stiles,她曾是个好学生,她的老师和家长都觉得她适合做老师,并鼓励她从事教师行业。果然她成为了一名教师,但她并不知道自己是否适合这个职业。(很多人选择职业的时候动机只占小部分,大部分都是因为各种老套的原因。)

While Ms. Stiles always clung to the illusion that she had made a wise decision, it was a decision whose benefits for her students were less certain. For she had little aptitude for teaching. She was articulate and had some enthusiasm for English literature, finding especially in poetry material for her romantic flights of fancy; but she had little in common with the youngsters with whom she was destined to spend much of forty years. She considered them rude, untidy, and irreverent. Furthermore, they were the children of others and therefore, she was certain, had not enjoyed the advantages of upbringing from which she had always benefited and which, in turn, she had tried to pass on to her own children. It was as if she could not forgive her students for their ignorance and illiteracy. Far from challenging her to greater efforts, their deficiencies merely disappointed and discouraged her. And she never failed to make her disillusionment known to students, friends, and colleagues.

但这位Stiles小姐总是给自己制作一种假象,觉得自己做了理智的决定。因为她在教学上没有天赋,对英国文学倒是挺热情。她觉得自己的学生粗鲁,不干净,无礼,并且不能原谅他们的无知和没文化。(学生都是比你没文化的啊,不然要你何用?你是教书还是找对象?)

She therefore taught tenth-grade English as if her principal objective was to demonstrate not only her superior understanding of Shakespeare's plays but also her absolute faith in the power of the dramatist's verse to elevate the most barbaric and illiterate temperament to the lofty level of her own sophistication. She made no attempts to project herself into her students' hearts and minds; indeed, the mere thought of such a perversion of her firm conviction threatened to make her ill. Rather, she remained aloof and Olympian, unapproachable and impregnable.

她因此教十年级英语,因为她想展示自己对莎士比亚戏剧的理解和她对此的自信。她从没试着把自己放在学生的角度思考过,这种想法甚至对她而言很痛苦。因此,她在学生眼中的形象是冷漠,威严,高高在上,难以改变的。

At times, her remoteness led her to deliver herself of views bordering on inscrutability. She might not explain Shakespeare, but she certainly flattered him. To the perennial question "Why do we have to read this stuff, Ms. Stiles?" her inevitable retort was, "When you say 'stuff,' I presume you are referring to the deathless writings of William Shakespeare." Once that point was clarified, she usually punished the miscreant with a penalty fit for the crime: the student would have to stay after class and write out for her a hundred times "A proper respect for Shakespeare is the mark of an educated person." If more justification were sought-more being quite unimaginable to Ms. Stiles-she would wax eloquent on the virtues of the Bard of Avon in language so outmoded that she would have embarrassed the great dramatist himself. Such obscure and prescriptive assertions discouraged further inquiry by her students; anyway, avoiding difficult questions was, in Ms. Stiles's experience, always the best policy. To such questions as "Who was Caesar's wife, and why did she have to be above suspicion?" she knew the answers, and she expected her students to know the answers, too, which many of them came to do. But the greater questions about ultimate purposes floundered like beached whales all over the barren shores of her classroom.

如果学生问“我们为啥要读这玩意儿(莎士比亚作品)啊老师?”这位老师会冷嘲热讽一般地回复学生,捍卫自己的莎士比亚,并让这位学生下课后留下来抄个一百遍真诚地向莎士比亚道歉。(恐怖阴森。。。学生还只是个孩子,孩子怎么会对莎士比亚感兴趣?有这种问题是正常的,老师应该引导学生去发现文学之美,而不是用这么冷漠。)

Each of her classes contained a handful of students willing to play the game her way in return for her approval and the high grade that went with it. They became adept at asking the right kinds of questions, giving the right answers, flattering their teacher with the right words. They were her favorites, the ones she called on most frequently and paraded as models before the less pliable and more independent of their classmates, who were instead the subjects of Ms. Stiles's tirades against ignorance and low taste.

她的班里总是有一些懂得她的规则的人,这些人可以得到高分,他们学会了问她正确的问题,给出正确的答案,赞美老师。这些人是她的最爱。

It never occurred to her to try to think with the minds of those students who resisted her instruction and thus proved themselves so different from herself. Not only was she incapable of envisioning their difficulties with Shakespeare and with her teaching of his plays, but she would have considered the effort to see Shakespeare from those students' perspectives irrelevant to her purposes. These purposes included getting through the working day without interruptions of any kind from her young charges and keeping them busy with the memorization of definitions and stock explanations so that they would forever after "know" their Shakespeare.

她从不去想为啥有的学生不听她的指导,她没有体会到学生理解莎士比亚的困难,她甚至觉得这些和她无关。她让学生忙于记定义和解释,这样学生后来总是会“知道”莎士比亚的。

Her dedication to hard, little facts, tiny nuggets of knowledge unearthed by her unerring sense of the irrelevant for the admiration of her students, was legendary. Poetry, for instance, was for her an arrangement of words representing figures of speech, and these she insisted that her students be able to identify and classify correctly; thus hendiadys, metonymy, anaphora,and litotes never escaped the treadmill of her defining faculties, nor did many of her students ever forget their meaning-no small triumph, she thought, over the refractory ways of the human mind.

What did escape her, however, was the dramatic magic of poetry - Caesar's bloodstained toga and his gaping wounds, the struggle between duty and ambition, the contradiction between the lure of liberty and the appeal of successful leadership, the suppression of self-interest in a patriotic cause, and the corruption of good men into petty thieves. The notion that Julius Caesar addresses major questions apposite to contemporary concerns in public and civic life had occurred to her, butshe had no interest in her students' youthful conceptions of current events and thus never made the connection. She taught the play because she had been taught it in the tenth grade; to her it seemed as established and traditional as Shakespeare himself. Besides, the language was not so bawdy as that of Romeo and Juliet, and this saved her from her students' nervous giggling and earthy exchanges about anything with a sexual connotation. And so because what the play was really about eluded her, it remained a mystery to her students. For every question they began with a "why," she had a substitute beginning with a "what." In her classroom, literature was dead on arrival, and it was the consensus among her former students, when they gathered in class reunions and talked about her, that Ms. Harriet Stiles had killed it.

她对学生对当今事件的看法毫无兴趣。在她的课上,文学已死。她的前学生套路是总说,是Stiles老师扼杀了文学的种子。(糟糕老师带来的阴影。)

These class reunions were a test for her. Since she had never learned her students' names when they were in her classes, she could not be expected to remember them later. But their faces-one would have thought that those of the best scholars or the worst miscreants would have lodged with her and that she might inquire after their lives. Instead, with her usual aplomb, she would ask if they could still recite the titles of Shakespeare's plays, and only the hardiest would stand by to try.

学生聚会对她来说是个考验,因为她从来没记住学生的名字,只知道谁成绩好谁成绩不好。

But it should not be presumed from all this that Ms. Stiles was a total failure as a teacher. Parents rarely complained to the principal about her, and she maintained good order in class. While she was stiff and unbending, she probably offered no worse a model to her students than those of her colleagues who scorned order and thought that the ideal of a disciplined classroom, to say nothing of a disciplined mind, was outdated. So though not a popular or inspiring teacher, she was accepted as innocuous but dull and, like the weather, probably inevitable. One of her students seemed to characterize her perfectly: "I suppose she knew something about Shakespeare," he said, "but she never seemed able to share it with us."

但也不能说Ms.Stiles是个失败的老师。父母从不抱怨她,班级秩序她也保持得很好。尽管不是一个受人欢迎的或者激励人心的老师,她被学生认为是位无伤大雅的,枯燥的,像天气一样无法预测的老师。其中一名学生说,“我猜她懂一点莎士比亚,但是她似乎从来不和我们分享。”

这本书的很多老师的品质都是无伤大雅的,可以有可以没有。就算没有,你也可以安心在做个老师。但是,有了这些品质你才对得起“老师”的称号。

​Compassion—the Elements of Teaching 8.3
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