Thursday, July 10, 2008

A king's ransom... for teachers.

Uff! It's been more than a whole month since I last sat down to exercise my creative skills by blogging, but if you had been in my shoes, you wouldn't have found the time either.

The last month was mostly spent preparing my yearly plan for the next school period, checking that every single item provided by the school was returned as close as the original state as possible, and dealing with angry parents who didn't understand why their lovely children flunked the school year and now have to take an extraordinary exam. My private LAAAAAAAAAAAME prize to the stupidest phrase of the year went to a father who stated that "you are so demotivating to the kids". If he only knew how demotivating his lazy kid was to me... (sigh).

But there was an extremely positive side to all this, and it was just the merry perspective of a whole month ahead without any responsibilities, but the amount of stuff these kids left behind in the abandoned, empty classrooms (which happened to look kind of happy, I'd say).

Among the huge amount of partialy used notebooks with only around 20 written pages each, the complete geometry sets which only lacked the compasses and a couple of just-a-bit-battered Swiss Army and Swiss Gear backpacks, there were around 14 or 15 novels and short stories students were not interested in keeping, although we teachers are.

From "Mirrormask" to "The Catcher in the Rye", which I had been trying to get for years, around 9 or 10 assorted books were carefully and tenderly placed in my rucksack, unable to wait for the moment they would join my humble 926-book library. And after finishing "Crocodile Shoes", which I found particularly amusing, I keep wondering what separates me from a generation that discards these expensive books as others discard used tissues. This is one of those peculiar things that make me feel absolutely detached from the rest of human race... well, of Mexican People. I have only found 3 other aliens... I mean, people, who read as avidly and hungrily as me. Understanding that modern kids perceive reading these carefully selected pieces as a punishment, and that they will barely come, not to appreciate them, but to fully understand them, makes me worried and proud at the same time.

So, after 6 months of hell unleashed, there was finally a pay back: all these wonderful books I was allowed to select, read, reread and nurture for years to come. A king's ransom in books, indeed.


Miao said...

Wow, you have 926 books in your library?! You're such a voracious reader! Have you finished reading all of them yet?

I'm a bibliophile too, but I am selective about the books I buy, since I am not yet financially independent... But once I have my own income and my own home, I'd like to have a study in which I can keep all my books! :)

YosoyineS said...

Superb!!! You really surpassed me, I have only 192 books, and some of them I even didn't read them.

I hate winter holidays, the last thing I do is relaxing, I've to study for my exams :S


kyklops said...

Actually, Usual Stuff, a good buddy of mine during my grad school days in Canada was a Mexican mathematician who I'm sure is a professor now at some university in Mexico City. He read tons and in fact introduced me to a lot of Latin American authors (whom I really enjoyed reading).

My point is, as a teacher myself, it's sometimes too easy to forget how many of my classmates didn't read as much as I did. I think this is pretty typical everywhere (not just in Mexico).

I confess, though, it doesn't make it any less annoying sometimes...

The Usual Stuff said...

miao: I have skipped around 8 or 10 that I have found kind of difficult to read, but I've read most of them, at least twice. But please take into account that I started my library when I was 12. And I've been selective too! Every book I don't like, I give away or swap. The only problem is, although I do have a study, now I'm having trouble to stack them. I wonder if one day they will fall on my head. =)

Inés: hey, girl, long time no see! Thank God you're still around! About exams, have you considered a study plan? Devoting only a couple of hours in the morning for one subject and another couple in the afternoon to another has worked well for me to retain the info. Good luck, and if you need help, I'm available.

kyklops: I wonder if reading like crazy is a trade-mark characteristic of teachers. My grandad was a teacher himself, and his library filled up the four walls of a single room, plus the cases all around the house. Pity that no more people share the wonders of a good book and a nice snack. How do people go to sleep if they don't read a couple of pages first? ?=)