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    attraction and repulsion in the classroom

    New semester started last week. A bunch of the students I had last semester for English 160 are with me again for English 161, which I take as a sign that they liked me (although it could just as easily be a sign that they think of me as "the devil they know").

    I like it when students like me, it makes it easier for me to slip in some actual education here and there. Although then there's this thing that philosopher Simon Critchley says:

    "Students should both admire you and then be repulsed by you. The art of teaching is managing that play of attraction and repulsion; in psychoanalytic terms. of making the transference and breaking it and not letting teaching turn into the crass discipleship one sees too much of in the United States."

    I think I'm pretty good at managing that play: attraction yet repulsion is I think very close to being an accurate description of how I imagine my students see me.

    (The Critchley quote, by the way, comes from Issue #17 of Cabinet Magazine, themed around "Laughter." I've been reading Issue #19 ("Chance") recently, which is quite good, and it's been making me think about luck, and risk, and things of that nature, about which I may write more later.)


    Monday, January 16, 2006
    11:35 PM


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