Current/Recent Reading List

10 October 2006


There is an all-too quip that I ran across in an essay by Joseph Epstein from the September New Criterion : "If there's one word that sums up everything that's gone wring since the War," wrote Kingsley Amis, "it's Workshop."

I suppose he was referring to artistic workshops, but who could disagree, whatever the context?

Well, our school system decided that this year they would schedule four half-days for students, and use the afternoons of those days for staff development (I forget - who's supposed to be getting an education again?). About six weeks ago a former principal, now the head of secondary education, came calling to see if I would help develop one of these workshops, along with "English teachers from each of the other three high school (wink, wink)," and help present it at all four sites during those development days. He was under orders from his boss to come up with something, of course.

The posse of English teachers who were supposed to help quickly dwindled to two (inclusive of moi) who were fools enough to agree to it. Apparently he was turned down by some others. Funny, but I (chump) didn't think we were really given a choice.

We got one day to meet and put something together, and then I spent almost two weeks fretting and obsessing over how awful this would be, how we would be mocked, how I would stammer and sweat and look foolish. And then today we finally presented the first workshop, and it went off without a hitch. We actually got an ovation.

What, me worry? (Kingsley Amis was still right, by the way.)

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