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Crazy Things Teachers Say

Saturn Ring Blues
To be fair, since I posted about Crazy Things People Say to Teachers, I should point out that teachers say crazy things too.  While I was in the copy room, I saw a handout another English teacher had printed for today.  It was a long matching worksheet on poetry terminology.  You know, one of those activities that asks students to pair up the terms, like Alliteration, Metonymy, Pastoral, Hyperbole, etc. to the definitions.

What caught my eye was the teacher's explanation on the sheet.  It read, "When you understand the devices used in poetry, it becomes easier to understand and much more fun to read and enjoy."

Hmmm.  It doesn't seem that long ago that I was sixteen, and I can't associate anything that is the least bit "fun" in "cliche," "Personification," "Sound devices," or "Persona."

I talked about this to another English teacher, and she argued that for her, now, reading a poem is like solving a puzzle.  Knowing the literary terms is a part of the puzzle, and that for her is "fun."

I love poetry.  I love reading it in quiet contemplation.  I love declaiming it to an audience.  I love when people share the poetry they love.  But, somehow, I can't get "fun" out of poetry terminology.  I study them because they deepen my understanding.  I study them because knowing them is like drawing back the curtain that hides the great and terrible Oz (I can't ignore the man behind the curtain!).  But I find it a hard sell to call the memorization of literary terms definitions "fun."  Sorry.  Can't do it.


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