Kindness of Teachers (Again)

Posted April 5, 2017 by Lynn E. O'Connacht in Miscellaneous / 0 Comments


And since, so far, anonymous people from my past have been a big thing in my posts on kindnesses I’ve experienced, let’s continue the trend!

This time we’re focusing on university! Where I took syntax courses. They didn’t advance beyond intermediate English syntax, I don’t think, but that’s okay! You may have remembered from last time that I said that I can get bored by classes?

Well, syntax was one of those classes. Not because I didn’t like the subject (I did!), but because the homework assignments we had didn’t cover what I wanted to learn and what I wanted to tackle. I know why they didn’t and it’s not like I never made mistakes, but they just… felt easy. There wasn’t any challenge in thinking about making the exercises. Figuring out why my answers were wrong, now. That was a wonderful challenge, but it didn’t exactly help me with my homework.

And yes this is the point where I admit to being a terrible student who rarely did her syntax homework on time. I was usually scrambling to finish it five minutes before the start of class. I don’t recommend it, but what’s done is done.

Anyway, I did actually do syntax during the time when I was supposed to do my homework! It just… wasn’t the exercises I should be practicing. It was usually a sentence from the back of whatever book I’d packed to read on the train ride back. It was a sentence I’d carefully selected to practice both the material I was supposed to be learning and explore the ways of syntax that we hadn’t yet covered in class.

And every week I did these sentences, I would check whether our teacher had some time left to go over the work with me and discuss what I’d done with it. She always had time for me. She didn’t always have a lot of time, true, but she always found the time to look the sentence over and correct it, despite the fact that she’d never seen the sentence before and despite the fact that they weren’t in any way academically sound practice sentences.

It’s one of my favourite memories from my time at university. True, I didn’t take syntax or any form of linguistics for my MA and moved onto purely literature, but I genuinely enjoy syntax as a subject and those few minutes at the end of a class to look over a student’s enthusiastic and excited “I like this so much let me do random extra work that’s really difficult!” sentences really meant a lot. ^_^