Practically no one reading this will have heard of Miss Pope. Her greatness is not obvious and it has never been documented, but she is my hero nevertheless. This year she retires after a lifetime’s teaching, the last 25 years of which has been spent as a Junior-school headmistress in Wanting, Exosphere. I was brought up in Wanting, and between the ages of eight and 11 1 attended her school. 2.
Miss Pope is a strong and wholesome woman. Tall, well-built and coos with it, she was consistently cheerful without being too Jolly or brisk. She had boundless energy, and soft skin that tanned easily and never lost its color. Her clothes were functional and unobtrusive, heavy jerseys in neutral mauves and beige, and sensible shoes. 3. Miss Pope’s permanent accoutrements were a white Saab 96, from which she would wave cheerily whilst driving around the market square, and a rather anti-social dog, a rare breed of Eastland collie called Sheens. Just as Eastland ponies look stunted, so do Eastland collies.
Sheens consisted of long, thick, orangey fur on very short legs: imagine Lassie crossed with Douglas from The Magic Roundabout. We adored her because she looked arrested in permanent boyhood, but she was completely indifferent to us. She would retreat to her kennel as the first child arrived for school and only re-emerge at 3. 30. It was a marvel to me that such an affectionate woman could live with such an aloof dog, and yet they were inseparable, an item. I’m convinced that “Miss Pope and Sheens” were painted almost as often in that school as the Madonna and Child were in Renaissance Europe. . Miss Pope believed that children only learnt self-worth and corporate responsibility through recognition of their gifts, however insignificant they might have seemed in scholastic terms: so while she was appreciative of talent and enthusiasm, it was those who were shy, or obstreperous, or who found reading and writing difficult, with whom she spent the most time. She was patient, kind and egalitarian, but she was also the sort of person Tanat canceller onto muck auto: seen Ana natural attenuator, Ana we were all In awe AT her.
Even the class delinquent would beg not to be sent to her office and that was eying something: after all, he wasn’t bothered by the local police. She never lost her cool, although running down corridors and throwing balls too close to windows could provoke a thunderous bellow identical to Albert Fineness memorable “Stop That Train! ” in the film The Dresser. 5. Miss Pope was an enormous success with children because she had genuine affinity with them. She enjoyed the things that children enjoyed, like pudding and snow and hugs and the slapstick bits of school plays.
She had an insatiable sense of humor and a huge, rotund laugh, and she ever failed to reward even the dullest anecdote or simplest Joy with her reassuring boom. Indeed, her greatest gift was to make every child feel as if his or her Joke, discovery, fear or pleasure was quite unique. 6. She had an unpretentious disregard for the formal. One afternoon she came to see our class frieze of the Great Fire of London. We all crowded round for her approval, while a pompous child called David insisted on explaining it to her: “Now Miss Pope, it’s 1666, and this is Pudding Lane, which as I expect you know is where the fire started.
This is the Tower of London, which as I expect you know is where they kept all the traitors, and this -” at which point she threw back her head and boomed with laughter, her attention caught by a hapless man engulfed in flames and plunging head first into the River Thames. “Good heavens, what an unlucky fellow! Who is he? ” “No one,” said David, refusing to be diverted. “No one’s no one, David dear,” said Miss Pope. “He is,” said David. Miss Pope boomed. 7. Secondary school was a terrible shock to the system after Miss Pope’s coos world. No camaraderie, and worst of all, no charm or imagination.
The school was infused with a suffocating emphasis on the importance f conformity. Within the first few days I was beaten up twice by burly fifth formers and taunted for the baffling, small-town sin of being the doctor’s daughter, something which had quite rightly not mattered at Miss Pope’s. I had my ears pierced and dropped my it’s and he’s, but it fooled no one. Mimi stick out like a sore thumb here, you know’ said my form teacher. “Buck off, posh bitchy,” said half the girls in my year, for about three years, until I grew a skin like a bullet-proof vest. . Miss Pope remained a quiet source of support through the awful transition from a sunny childhood to a dark adolescence. Cards would arrive at Christmas, and every summer, detailing walking holidays with Sheens and the abundance of wild flowers in Devon and Cornwall. “Don’t fret about what others think of you,” she wrote once. “Just work hard, remember that it’s all right to be yourself, and try to laugh at the bad bits. ” Her teaching was sensible, solid and compassionate. The values she sought to instill sound old-fashioned, but they weren’t.
They were simple, timeless and good, and they filtered gently into hundreds of lives, without fuss or ceremony. Word Study 1. Match the two columns: I unobtrusive 12) aloof I obstreperous I insatiable la. Unfortunate lb. Never satisfied LLC. Bewildering old. Undersized suffocating baffling stunted I h. Relationship IL. Not noticeable l]. Not friendly k. Choking uproarious young age eel. Equipment If. Guilty leg. strong I | 7) Tiptoe 1 18) liability 1 19) I adolescence I | 10) | accoutrements I Ill) Delinquent 1 112) I burly 1 113) I hapless Im. 2.
Use an English-English dictionary to differentiate the following pairs of words: I obvious – evident, manifest; I Cheerful – Jolly; I I unobtrusive – inconspicuous; la marvel – a wonder; Tit retreat – to re-emerge. 3. Paraphrase the following word-combinations to make the meaning of the first impotent more evident: la wholesome woman, sensible shoes, an anti-social dog, an aloof dog, appreciative of talent; a huge, rotund laugh; insatiable sense of I I humor 4. Say whether the meaning of the first component in the following word- combinations is the same: la wholesome woman I wholesome food wholesome advice I I wholesome appearance 5.
Give synonyms for the following: Tit be in awe of SMB, frieze, a hapless man, to fret, affinity 6. State which of the following words and word-combinations are bookish and which are low-colloquial. Offer neutral words which can be used instead of both: I accoutrements I liftoff I adolescence I posh bitchy Tit pay deference to SMB Tit muck I delinquent 7. Tell the difference in meaning between the following: I Drill auto I bring forward I bring over I Bring up I Drill Tack I bring in I bring round I erelong down I bring off I bring through Try to use the majority of them while speaking of the main character of the essay. . Pick out school terms and words having to do with school-life. Comment on them. Education: Doing Bad and Feeling Good by Chi. Khartoum 9. A standardized math test was given to 13-year-olds in six countries last year. South Koreans did the best. Americans did the worst, coming behind Spain, Britain, Ireland and Canada. Now the bad news. Besides being shown triangles and equations, the kids were shown the statement “l am good at mathematics”. Koreans came last in this category. Only 23 % answered yes. Americans were Number 1, with an impressive 68% in agreement. 10.
American students may not know their math, but they have evidently absorbed the lessons of the newly fashionable self-esteem curriculum wherein kids are taught to feel good about themselves. Of course, it is not just educators who are convinced that feeling good is the key to success. The Governor of Maryland recently announced the formation of the task force on self- esteem, “a 23-member panel created on the theory’, explains the Baltimore Sun, “that drug abuse, teen pregnancy, failure in school and most other social ills can be reduced by making people feel good about themselves”.
Judging by the international math test, such task forces may be superfluous. US kids already feel exceedingly good about doing bad. 11. Happily, some American educators are starting to feel bad about doing bad. Early voice to the feel-bad movement was given by the 1983 Nation t Risk Study, which found US schools deteriorating towards crisis. And President Bush’s “educational summit” did promise national standards in math and science. The commitment remains vague but does recognize that results objectively measured, not feelings, should be the focus of educational reform. 2. Now the really bad news. While the trend towards standards and testing goes on at the national level, quite the opposite is going on in the field, where the fixation on feeling is leading to the Balkanization of American education. 13. The Battle cry is “inclusion” in the teaching curriculum for every politically situated minority. In California, for example, it is required by law that textbooks not Just exclude “adverse reflection” of any group but include “equal portrayal” of minorities and the handicapped.
In texts on “history or currents events, or achievements in art, science or any toner Title, ten contributions AT women Ana men snouts De represented approximately equal numbers”. 14. Says a respected female historian: “I’m beginning to think that in the future it will become impossible to write a history textbook and satisfy these kinds of demands. After all, how do you write a history of the Bill of Rights giving equal time to the contribution of women? 15. In New York State, a report from the Task Force on Minorities (A Curriculum of Inclusion) has launched a fierce attack on “Resurrection” in the schools.
It begins, “African Americans, Asian Americans, Puerco Rican [Latino and Native Americans have all been the victims an intellectual and educational oppression that has characterized the culture and institutions of the United States and the European-American world for centuries”. Result: “Terribly damaging” to the “psyche” of minority youth. Recommendation: Prepare all curricular materials “on the basis of multicultural intrusions to the development of all aspects of our society’. 16. This ideology masquerading as education and aspiring to psychotherapy.
It demands outright lying. Not all groups in America have contributed “to the development of all aspects of our society’. There is little to be said, for example, about Asian-American contribution to basketball, about the Jewish-American contribution to the Peugeot War or about the contribution of women to the Bill of Rights. Some connection could, of course, be found – manufactured – if one pushed it. But pushing it would be entirely in the service of ideology, not truth. American history has not been smoothly and proportionately multicultural from the beginning.
Honesty requires saying so. 17. But honesty is not the object of the inclusion movement. Psychic healing is. The fixation on inclusion curricula is based on the widespread assumption that the pathologies afflicting many minorities, from teen pregnancy and drug abuse to high dropout rates, come from a lack of self-esteem. Which, in turn, comes from their absorbing (as New York task force puts it) “negative characterizations” of themselves in school books. 18. This argument is wrong on its face. This is the era of affirmative action.
If today’s high dropout rates, drug abuse and teen pregnancy stem from negative characterizations of minorities, then 40 years ago – the era of parks with NO DOGS AND NEGROES signs – self-esteem should have been lower and social pathology worse. Of course, the opposite is true. In 40 years negative characterizations have decreased and social pathologies have increased. 19. The real tragedy of this obsessive preoccupation with Resurrection is that it is a trap and a diversion. Of all the reasons for the difficulties encountered by the minority kids in and out of school, curricular Resurrection ranks, if at all, at the bottom.
That New York State, in the midst of an educational crisis, should be devoting its attention to cleansing the grade school curriculum of Resurrection is a waste, a willful turning away from real problems. 20. The attack on Resurrection did not start in the New York public schools. It started at elite US universities. Last year Stanford University changed its course on Western civilization into a curriculum of inclusion by imposing a kind of ethnic and gender quota system for Great Books. 21 . Stanford can afford such educational indulgences.
Its graduates will get Jobs even if their education is mildly distorted by this inclusion passion. Not so inner-city third-graders, whose margin of error in life is tragically smaller. And for whom any dilution or diversion of education to satisfy the demands of ideology can be devastating. 22. The pursuit of good Telling In coeducation Is a AAA end. I nee way to true sell-esteem Is tongue real achievement and real learning. Politically Balkanized curricula will only ensure that US schools continue to do bad, for which feeling good, no matter how relentlessly taught, is no antidote.
I the 1983 Nation at Risk Study US schools was analyses of study in a school or university l- a report in which the state of education in I luxuriance – a course I I the Balkanization of American education l- the process of breaking up into smaller disconnected units I I Resurrection I Lethe Peugeot War la concentration on the problems of Europe I the war waged between the Algonquian people (Indians) of Southeastern Connecticut in the 17th I century Word Study I self-esteem 1 12) Superfluous 1 13) I deteriorating 1 14) I handicapped 1 15) alfalfa scale without inspiration la. Aging worse or of less value lb. Filling one’s mind completely LLC. Favorable opinion of oneself old. More than necessary eel. (fig. , us. Contemptuous) write books, etc. On a large 1 16) I manufacture If. Cause pain, suffering or sadness to 17) lobotomies 1 18) I diversion different) leg. The best people in a group I h. Weakening the force of (by mixing with smith. 1 19) Dilution IL. Anything which makes progress or success more difficult 1 110) elite l]. Turning the attention in a different direction 2.
Use a Thesaurus to find synonyms for the following: I evidently, superfluous, exceedingly, deteriorate, adverse, damage, diversion, devastate, relentlessly, gratify, hindrance 3. Use an English-English dictionary to explain the meaning of the following pairs of words and word-combinations: I masquerade, it ranks at the bottom, obsessive reoccupation with indulgence, antidote, ethnic, on its face Offer neutral words Tanat can e uses Instead indulge, damage, adverse AT ten Toweling Doodads words: I 5.
Give words of the same root in Russian and say if they differ in meaning: I nation, risk, standard, fixation, intellectual, psychotherapy, ideology, psychic, pathology, elite 6. Find in the text the English for: I consignable Nippon; cay*Eh nepenthe papaya’19 Ha debacles yippee; hugely Impregnable; neap’NH rays Ha… ; nay-Ian no’s; c+a6phKoaaHHb17; daybook’17 hypoxia etcetera; Hosannas Chattahoochee; ECMA allele “Emmet Though’e; Coot Ha annoyance Emcee; Tiny; Dance cards by D. Barry (The Washington Post Magazine, August 16, 1992) 23. My son, who is 11, has started going to dance parties.
Only minutes ago he was this little boy whose ideas of looking really sharp was to have all the Cool-Aid stains on his He-Man T-shirt be the same flavor; now, suddenly, he’s spending more time per day on his hair than it took to paint the Sistine Chapel. 24. And he’s going to the parties where the boys dance with actual girls. This was unheard of when I was 1 1, during Eisenhower administration. Oh, sure, our parent’s sent us to ballroom dancing classes, but would eave been equally cost-effective for them to simply set fire to their money. 25. The ballroom in my case was actually the Harold C. Accredited Junior High School cafeteria.
We boys would huddle defensively in one corner, punching one another for moral support and eyeing the girls suspiciously as though we expected them at any moment to be overcome by passion and assault us. In fact this was unlikely. We were not a fatally attractive collection of stud muffins. We had overgrown our sports coats, and we each had at least one shirttail elegantly sticking out, and the skinny ends of our neckties hung down longer than the fat ends. Many of us had smeared our hair with the hair-smear of choice in those days, Barrymore, a chemical substance with the natural look and feel of industrial pump lubricant. 6. When dance class started, the enemy genders were lined up on opposite sides of the cafeteria, and the instructor, an unfortunate middle-aged man who I hope was being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars, would attempt to teach us the fox trot. 27. “One two three four, one two three four”, he’d say, demonstrating the steps. “Boys, start with your left foot forward; girls, start with your right foot back, and being now; one… “. 28. The girls, moving in one graceful line, would all take a step back with their right feet.
At the same time, on the boys side, Joseph Digitization, who is now an attorney, would bring his left foot down firmly on the right toe to Tommy Longhorns. 29. “Two”, the instructor would say, Ana ten girls would all Drill tenet let Tee Tack, Wendell loamy would punch Joe sideways into Dennis Johnson. “Three”, the instructor would say, and the girls would shift their weight to the left, while on the other side the chain reaction of retaliation had spread to all 40 boys, who were punching and stomping on each other, so that our line looked like giant centipede having a Barrymore-induced seizure. 30.
This was also how we learned the waltz, the chaw-chaw and – this was the instructor’s hope cat dance step – the Lindy Hop. After we boys had thoroughly failed to master these dances, the instructor would bring the toe lines together and order the boys to dance directly with the girls, which we did by sticking our arms straight to maintain maximum separation, lunging around the cafeteria like miniature sports-coat- wearing versions of Frankincense’s monster. 31. We never danced with girls outside of that class. At social events, girls danced the slop with other girls; boys made hilarious noises with their armpits.
It was the natural order of things. 32. But times have changed. I found this out the night of Robbery first dance party, when, 15 before it was time to leave for the party, he strode impatiently up to me, wearing new duds, looking perfect in the hair department and smelling vaguely of – Can it be? Yes, it’s Right Guard! – and told me that we had to go immediately or we’d be late. This from a person who has never, ever shown the slightest interest in being on time for anything, a person who was three weeks late to his own birth. 33.
We arrived at the dance-party home at the same time as Robbery friend T. J. , who stored up us, eyes eager, hair slicked. “T. J.! “, I remarked. Mirrored wearing cologne! “. About two gallons, I estimated. He was emitting fragrance rays visible to the naked eye. 34. We followed the boys into the house, where the kids were dancing. Actually, I first thought they were Jumping up and down, but I have since learned that they were doing a dance called the Jump. We tried to watch Robbery, but he gestured violently at us to leave, which I can understand.
If God had wanted your parent’s to watch you do the Jump, He wouldn’t have made them so old. 5. Two hours later, when we came back to pick him up, the kids were slow-dancing. Of course the parent’s weren’t allowed to watch this either, but by peering through a window from another room, we could catch glimpses of couples swaying together, occasionally illuminated by spontaneous fireballs of raw hormonal energy shooting around the room.