Friday, September 21, 2007

Archaic word of the week

The other day, a student used "maugre" in a paper of his.

Yes. Maugre.

Yes, correctly.

(Yes, I already knew what it meant--stop your snickering, you in the back row . . . but I hadn't learned it till I took a Chaucer course in grad school.)

I can't say much more for reasons of student privacy, but suffice it to say that "maugre" is not entirely out of place in this student's writing.

On an episode of Frasier, Niles has a joke about Roz's bedroom being "easier to get into than a community college." It's a good line, but I also have to say that, in the case of my time at my particular community college, I have met some extraordinary students who, had it not been for that ease of admission ("ease" here not just in an academic sense), might not have had their academic moments in the sun elsewhere.

It's a privilege to be a small part of that. That's all this post is really about: just to say that.

7 comments:

R. Sherman said...

What the EMBLOS likes about Community College teaching is the diversity of experience among the students. Yes, there are the 18 year olds but she has mostly immigrants in her "Developmental" courses in college level reading and writing. They are so willing to learn and so grateful to be there (in college) and here (America.)

Cheers.

John B. said...

Yessir, Randall. This little comment could easily turn into its own very long post if I were to begin relating stories told me by students (foreign and native-born) of the circumstances they and their families have endured/escaped from/endure still; yet, there they sit in my classroom. It's not only a privilege to teach such people, it's very very humbling: a healthy reminder that "troubles" are, after all, relative matters.

Educator-To-Be said...

You must have some pretty smart students!

I had to look the word up.

Nice blog.

Amy

Pam said...

A few years ago, the Dean of our graduate school decided to change the date required for complete applications by students to be submitted to our graduate school - it was changed to a much earlier date. His rationale: he was tired of getting applications from students that had been rejected by Harvard or Princeton or Yale...I remember laughing when I saw his email - the implicit arrogance was expected from him, but to display it so directly - as you might imagine, this isn't a Dean that I have much in common with. Anyway, I couldn't help reflect at that moment how many delightful and bright and motivated graduate students had gone through my laboratory - and how educating is about, well, educating, isn't it? I'm in a state that ranks as one of the lowest in almost every parameter in which education is monitored - and I have actively have participated in high school and undergraduate mentoring programs and all I can say is that everyone deserves a chance at an education - and I hate how arrogant so many of our educators have become (have always been?).

Anyway, just today I was in the lab for awhile, helping with a new batch of coral samples from Puerto Rico - and one of the lab folks asked me how I decided to go into microbiology - and into research. And, like so many others, it was because a teacher took me aside and said that he thought I'd be good at it, and enjoy it.

I'm rambling. But I guess what I'm saying (and it's like preaching to the choir) is that everyone deserves the opportunity to have someone tell them that. And for christ's sake, I'll take Harvard and Princeton and Yales 'rejects' (according to my Dean - the actual word he chose to use) anyday.

And I didn't know the definition of 'maugre' either.

Amy said...

My daughter is now at the state school and she is finding a delightful diversity of intellects and experience I don't think she would have discovered at her first choice private school.

When I realized I had to look up maugre, I had a megrim.

Hyygeia said...

Could I please hear "maugre" used in a sentence?

John B. said...

Hyygeia,

Here I am writing a response to your query, maugre the grading I have to do tonight.