Letters to a Teacher

I began reading Letters to a Teacher by Sam Pickering, “the teacher who inspired Dead Poets Society” today.

It’s an easy read, written on a conversational level, with snippets of character vignettes for people you will never know, some of whom you are not quite sure how they got in there.

I am enjoying it. But he said not to read it all at one sitting, so I’m not. These are my thoughts on chapter 1.

He quotes Charles Conrad Abbott, a turn of the 20th century naturalist who was important in his time, as saying “Ascribe infallibility to the professor and you become at best his echo, and condemn to slavery what should be free as the air, your own mind.”

I thought I’d help the students understand that by having two missing items in my syllabus. (Okay, not really. But they are missing.)

On page 20 of the book he recounts a letter from a reader who said that he found a piece of paper in the book at a library and wanted him to know “what is on the minds of your readers.” It’s a long pink paper that says “take chicken out of freezer.”

But my marker for the book is a hair appt card. It’s not what I was thinking about, but what piece of flat paper was handy to stick into the book when and where I was reading it.

Often I use old receipts, but since I was at the library, I had to fish something out of my purse and the only thing there was a hair appt. I am sure the person reading it was NOT thinking “take chicken out of freezer” or they wouldn’t have had to write that down.

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