Thursday, October 28, 2004

A lesson in English writing

I remember, the first time I experimented and wrote something similar to what I have been writing recently (Juxtaposed, The Oracle, Intrusion, Influenced Opinions), what I call ‘reflective imagery’, my English teacher refused to put it into the school magazine. At that point, for the life of me, I couldn’t understand why. So I asked her, what was wrong with it.

Teacher: It’s not right.

Me: What is wrong with it?

Teacher (shocked at being questioned): I said, it, is, just, not, right.

Me (refusing to understand): I don’t understand, what is wrong with the writing?

Teacher (bewildered): I … I don’t know. I can’t publish this.

Me (eyebrows up): Why?

Teacher (exasperated): I have already told you. It is not right. This is not the way to write articles for the school magazine. I will publish the other piece you wrote on (some school function) but not this.

(I stare at her in disbelief)

Teacher: Now stop asking stupid questions and go back to your class. Who is the English teacher, you or me?

Me (mumbling, while walking away): It doesn’t look like you are going to stay one for long at the rate you are going!


cleolove said...

I can relate to this a great deal, I always had problems with English teachers because I had the nerve to write the way I wanted to. Its not that I wasn't capable of writing 'their' way, and I did, for school. But I refused to allow them to tell me what was or wasn't right.

May you always have the courage to write the way that your soul demands, regarless of who determines it to be 'right'

True creativity at its most beautiful.

Garrison Steelle said...

Regretfully, too many teachers are unable to deal with anything that does not exist within the narrow borders of what they teach.


Jessica said...

Sounds like many an argument I had with my teachers. They always wanted me to write more straight-forward when I liked to take the more twisty route to expression.

Miss Qt said...

As far as I can remember, I haver never had such problems with my teachers but hey I've never had any talent in writing! lol Yours was probably jealous! ;-)

puglet said...

Ah, she knew nothing. Your writing is..reflective imagery seems right, but to me the style seems more deflected imagery. thers little introspection on the part of the characters, yet the feelings are clearly out there. reading it reminds me of something in reverse..reaction before action, if that makes sense.

Sara said...


This reminds me of why I hated high school so much. It seemed like the focus of learning was on respecting authority rather than encouraging creativity and praising progress. No wonder I smoked so much pot then.

Rachel said...

Dear "A", I wonder if your teacher knows what "fantastic realism" is??

Anonymous said...

I've had a teacher like that since 1st grade - in 5th grade my teacher hated me just because I was 8 years old, and ever since then, I've had a teacher/instructor/professor who resented my ability to learn a little too well, or work a little too quickly.

It sucks when the one who's supposed to teach instead attempts to stifle your learning, or to find a box to fit you into, just to quiet her own discomfort. You'll rise above that in no time. Revel in the knowledge that she never will.

. : A : . said...

Thanks for your comments. It is nice to know that a lot of you can relate to this situation. Though it happened to me years ago, for some reason it came back the other night when I posted this.

cleolove, Jessica - I think that a lot of English teachers are hung up on their students 'writing' in 'their' way. But I did come across one who encouraged different writing. I believe that writing, like water, seeks its own level.

Garrison Steelle, mai - Agree with you! I have come across too many of these in the past, even those teaching other than English. But then the ones that can truly look beyond are the ones who can make a difference.

Queen Mo - Thanks. Your talent is in singing! :-)

puglet - Yes, I understand what you mean. I was a little hesitant to give it a 'name' but somehow felt I wanted to call it something to refer to it and hence 'reflective imagery'.

Sara - I can totally identify with "the focus of learning was on respecting authority rather than encouraging creativity and praising progress". It almost seems like something I would say!

Pandora - I too wonder! I guess we will need to ask her. It has been a long time and I am in a land far far away now! :-)

mai - I believe I have risen above it and now I shall revel in the knowledge that she never will!!!


Mamacita said...

I was an English teacher for 26 years, so I feel somewhat qualified to say to you: THAT PERSON WAS NOT A REAL TEACHER. How awful. REAL English teachers keep an eye peeled for creativity and try to nurture it. That person tried to stamp it out. Ooooh, it makes me furious to think about teachers like that. I'm sorry you had that experience. But really, we are not all like that one.

Anonymous said...

here, all i seem to hear is 'i am fed up of you/her/him etc,' even on the BBC! Better teachers needed!

Pincushion said...

Ahhh..I seem to be in a very unique situation here..:)) let me explain...
I had problems with my english teacher..for the same reason as you A,..then..I became a teacher..and got in trouble with my colleagues AND head teacher BECAUSE I encouraged ''different'' writing/thinking..hahaha..(bad teaching according to THEM..LOL !!) where the hell did that leave me..??!!..
but yes..I will agree with one thing..such ''teachers'' are not REAL teachers..for a true teacher is always a true LEARNER..and if he/she has to 'learn' from her be it !!

. : A : . said...

Mamacita, Pincushion - if only there were more English teachers like you!


Pincushion said...

Thank you Agastya ! But I must confess something here..I said teacher..but if you look carefully..i didn't say english..(lol!)..I actually taught educational psychology !!(thinking it and writing !!)

. : A : . said...

Pincushion - Oh well, anyway, I still wish there were more English teachers like you!


Pincushion said...

Thank you :)

iamnasra said...

Well I had problemwith my Arabic teacher...I always wanted to be an Arabic poet and my teacher use to give me such Hard time and thats when i hated my Arabic class and started writing in English...