"I would we were all of one mind, and one mind good." --Cymbeline, V.iv.209-210. An English teacher's log. Slow down: Check it once in a while.

Monday, May 28, 2007

On Memorial Day

Let us give thanks today (and every day) for the labor and sacrifice of all those in the military who have served and who are now serving our nation and its ideals.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Declaratio Interrupta

When in the course of academic events it becomes necessary for a reputed teacher to decline of his own free will the renewal of his annual contract with an educational institution that he gratefully acknowledges richly to have rewarded him during the course of two decades with the opportunity to teach wonderful students, with remuneration, and with honor, a decent respect for the opinions of his students, their parents, his colleagues, and others familiar with his professional reputation invites him to declare the causes which impel him to the separation.

But I’m not going to do it. I have no desire to harm with a list of particular “abuses and usurpations” an institution that has been good to me over the years and where good teachers remain to teach and good students to learn. My departure itself, the only form of protest that was left me against the corrupting ethos of an administration having scant patience for principled loyal opposition, says almost all that need be said in public. I will add only that my decision was not taken lightly and arose from no discontent with students or faculty colleagues. Anyone interested in details is welcome to contact me directly.

After this year’s closing ceremonies some of you expressed surprise and disappointment, even apology, at the lack of acknowledgment of the departure of a teacher who has zealously served the stated mission of the school for twenty-one years. I appreciated your sympathy. However, that silence, entirely in character for an administration content to see the back of me and angry at my privately expressing my reasons for leaving, was also, I assure you, perfectly in keeping with my desire. I would have found it insufferable to hear hypocritical official praises.

Of the praises that count—the eloquent dedication of this year’s student literary magazine and the spoken and written thanks of students, alumni, their parents, and my friends on the faculty—I have an embarrassment of riches, and for them I am profoundly grateful. No one therefore should feel in the least sorry for me. I have all the reward I could desire and am going whither I have been most warmly invited for reasons that I am persuaded have more to do with academic values than with marketing.

To those who have been my students, I consider that nothing essential has changed between us. I will always be delighted to hear from you and to continue your teacher and friend.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Congratulations to the Class of 2007

Congratulations to the Class of 2007. May you go from strength to strength in knowledge, wisdom, and good deeds, and may joy be your reward.