Thursday, June 07, 2007

Episode Fifty-seven: Of Math and Martyrs

Bach's Goldberg Variations, writers are fun to hang out with, but you're afraid of our competition, My first Odeo! Looking for a dime and trying not to be a martyr. (Now you'll have to listen. That won't make any sense otherwise!)

Disclaimer for this week's episode below.

Get your pattern in the Knitting Pattern-a-day Calendar* and go check out Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar... a really scary article Teresa sent in, To be or not to be? At U.S. colleges, it's increasingly 'not' :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Other Views

OH! I forgot to say on the 'Cast--there's still one knitting book out there just waiting for a knitting disaster story. I have two...will you be the third?! Send 'em in. Don't be shy!

Oh, and Chapters 21 and 22 of Book the Second! But, sadly, no Chip or Andy...not this week. They'll be back though. Promise!

Don't forget to check out Julie's podcast!

*The 411: $500 will be awarded as First place for both calendars; there are also 2nd and 3rd place prizes; and all contributors whose patterns are used will receive a 2009 calendar. Please go to our website at and learn more about the submission requirements and our contest. If you have any questions, please contact me and I will gladly answer your questions. You can also download the informational PDF if you're interested.
Good luck--and let me know if you win!!!

The "teacher as martyr" reference comes from an article I read years ago--and an idea that's still being discussed--that teachers are only "allowed" to fall into two categories: martyrs and saints. It went on to say that in any other profession this would be unacceptable, but that for some reason, teachers tend to work (and work well) within those confines. Which means when they no longer have the time or energy to be either, they have to quit. I am not saying that all teachers are martyrs, just that there are some (myself included) who fit that category. There are others (rarely ELA teachers) who manage to have a life and be a teacher. I could never find the balance. Follow up with this entry from Michael Fullan's book, Change Forces.


  1. Anonymous11:23 AM

    I think that this is the most frightening and true statement in the article: "Students can now graduate from most of the top-ranked colleges in America without having much meaningful exposure to anything." But I also don't think it's entirely the fault of the colleges. I teach English and grammar at an after school tutoring program because elementary school teachers are so overworked they can't fit anything outside the curriculum into their schedules - and grammar isn't in the curriculum. Don't get me started.

    Also, Shakespeare wasn't really popular until the 1800's. Before that, kids were required to read Milton and Dante instead. Where did those guys go? The changing fashion in authors has left Shakespeare alone for quite some time, but the sad part is I couldn't tell you who is taking the Bard's place.

    As an art history major, I must say that I think a required course in Dante would benefit me more than one in Shakespeare simply because of all the art based on The Divine Comedy. Which makes me wonder if the emphasis in "take whatever you want" is a backlash against the vocational school models of previous times.

  2. I graduated from a Liberal Arts College as an English Major and was not required to take Shakespeare. I did take him as one of my four required British Literature classes. My other options include Dickens, 17th Century British Poetry, Victorian Poetry and Prose, 18th Century Novels, and Milton among others. I was also required to take two American Literature courses. I remember taking Southern Literature and Modern Poetry. Of course, I had an extensive list of requirements to get my degree and the examples above are just a sub-set. Even though Shakespeare was not required, I had a very full list of excellent courses as options. Granted, one class I could have taken was "Baseball in Literature," but trust me, the teacher would have been wonderful and it would have been a very solid class.

    My reaction to the Chicago Sun Times article is mixed. Is it truly a shame that Shakespeare is not being offered or is the article only focusing on the really horrible classes colleges are offering? In the example of my school, I believe they did an excellent job of introducing Shakespeare in the lower level classes, and fortunately, I went to a high school which also focused on Shakespeare. Even though my college did not require the Barb, he was definitely part of my classes every year.

    On a side note, every English major should see "The Complete Works of William Shakespear (abridged)"

  3. Hey missy! I just heard 56 and was to taken by your teaser that I had to listen to the new one! (Maybe it's just my download, but I have a minute of dead space between the intro and the start of your talking. Ends at 1:22...)

  4. Thanks for the headsup, Paper. Problem fixed!

  5. Yippee, a new cast!
    Thanks for the link to the new podcast. Most books, yum!
    Haven't listened yet, but downloading.


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