Beginnings and ends of semesters are frantic. Middles are not much better. But there are always pockets, and this week was full of the most magnificent pockets — even amidst the height of administrative banality.
Two pockets have to do with teaching, notes of an experience that were foreshadowed unexpectedly several weeks earlier in these tweets by author Teju Cole:
…and the grace of unplanned and fated encounters.
And a third, an essay by Uwe Schütte about being a student of W. G. Sebald — see “Teaching by Example” that begins on p. 42 of the latest issue of Five Dials magazine. In it, he writes of being a student, learning, being taught, and also of fate. And, a beautiful embrace of the humility of teaching. For instance, of his time with Sebald, the German author who spent most of his adult life in the UK, Schütte writes:
What I learned from him was more than a thing or two about literature. I also learned what it means to be upright and detached in the bonfire of literary as well as academic vanities. And I learned the probably somewhat un-British lesson of speaking one’s mind in situations where it is necessary to do so.
Living by example, really.