I’m going to risk my own mental health and argue with Tim Minchin: sometimes we prove certain medicines to work yet don’t actually call them medicine. Fennel, lemon and honey tea tastes like **** but it works. Horehound candies work. The antibiotics and steroids didn’t stop the cough, even though I had to pay 30x the price of natural medicines because scientists have refined the antibiotics and steroids to the point where they’re sure to work.
The human mind never ceases to amaze me.
Human lungs don’t amaze me any more. They just annoy me. Not too hot on humours, either.
Right, back to the human mind: this is the time of year when tutors get swamped with grade-school students. English tutors, specifically, get swamped with young boys. These boys are not going to pass their language arts classes (‘cepting that the school system doesn’t fail anyone anymore so the kids will actually pass). I have a Grade 8 student who is working at a Grade 2 level (how did he get left behind for so long?) I have a Grade 5 student who doesn’t want to take the time to comprehend what he reads because he’s so hellbent on finding out what the rest of the book says that he skips over the parts he thinks might not teach him anything.
Freaky. I love playing with these kids.
I had a breakthrough, a couple of weeks ago, with a kid who’s been kinda like a brick wall for 5 months. Renews my belief that everyone likes to read once they find something that actually interests them (and you know how I believe in nurturing obsessions). This time, it was Iktomi. The Paul Goble books, specifically, even though the First Nations have castigated him for being a WASP and telling non-WASP stories. I honestly wouldn’t care if Goble was a martian, as long as he told the Iktomi stories the same way. Iktomi has worked for me before; I think it’s a combination of the illustrations and the little side-texts that Goble puts in. In any case, this kid suddenly demands to read, and tries to write his own stories with interesting comments and details. This kid even took three of Goble’s other books out of the library.
In other news, last week’s Hot Sauced Words (during which I sat at the back and ingested a day’s worth of calories in cough candies) brought us Nichola Ward’s Back Bacon, accompanied by the bass. It worked fairly well. However, the music didn’t really stick with me; meat on criss-crossed meat did. Kinda weird for a vegetarian, I know… shall let all you wannabe analysts have a go at that one.
Jill Battson was also pretty good.
My own writing is currently in turmoil. There’s something gestating in my head, and I’m not sure where it’s going. One of my long-time students is determined to get in my head, and this has moved me to haul out the tied-up-with-ribbon letters from my own (dead) mentor. When I was about 20 years old, I was trying to get in his head, too, because I thought he had all the answers – all old people have all the answers, right? They’re just keeping the information to themselves? Oddly, I wasn’t surprised by what I found in his head. He was constantly surprised that I wasn’t surprised. (Will this girl be surprised by the things in my head? She keeps asking questions that teachers aren’t supposed to answer. I want to tell her to hold tight for 10 years, and if we’re still friends then I’ll tell her everything she wants to know; she’ll be sorely disappointed, though.) Between the letters and the writing exercises I’m doing to try to orient this story, there have been some weird trips down memory lane. I wish my mentor was still alive so I could ask his opinion on some of these things…
…if, of course, he remembers these things. I think we liked each other because neither one of us ever had much connection to reality….