Thursday, March 31, 2011


If you're looking for some long, lost idealism to add to your working week, here's a healthy dollop served up by Queensborough Community College Professor Charles Neuman. Because he teaches physics and astronomy it is indeed tempting to suggest that this young man has his head stuck in the clouds.

But it's good to know he can at least temper his positive vibrations with a little departmental conflict, or at least tension:

"I am starting to see that idealism is a threat. My colleagues’ simple expressions of idealism invoke disproportionate responses of vitriol. There’s something primal about this hatred. I posit that idealism represents youth, and those who feel they have lost it, or never had it, are so pained they can only respond with fury. It’s sad, really."

To continue Charles's thought, I've noticed that sometimes my collegues' simple expressions of vitriol invoke disproportionate responses of idealism. It's probably just all the headache and disagreement associated with any kind of faculty, and yet another reason to avoid extensive communication with teachers--they always have a minor quibble, ancillary thought, competing notion, neurotic twist, or other intriguing consideration that can make discourse among them positively exhausting. I've heard that lecturers can be the worst.

Educators of the World Disagree!

But may you stay forever young, Charles, Clark Hall, and teaching, that most noble and paradoxical of all the professions.

Charles and I shared an old building during our "frosh" year of college, and reading his words and being reminded of Clark Hall have successfully "youthened" my own working day.

And now, alas, it's back to grading.

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