Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Who would've known?

I was feeling very nostalgic today at work. Not because I'm working at my old high school - I've gotten over that already for the most part. This time the feeling was at least tripled, because of what I had to teach.

I have two groups of seniors who are taking the same course. It's a prep course for the final examinations (or matriculation examination, as the fancy term goes) in Finnish. It means that the kids write two-three essays during the course and in addition they practice punctuation, different styles of writing, and analyze different kinds of sources etc. A whole lot of work and lot's of stuff to go through.

Today, with the first group, we read a short story and three essays written about it. One of the essays just happens to be written by a guy who I went to that exact same school to, all those years ago. He was one of my best friends in high school (not to mention I had a huge crush on him for about 4 years...) and I was feeling really odd (in a very positive way, though) discussing the essay with the students. Mom said she's usually mentioned that the essay was written by a former student from this school, so I felt like I could mention it too. (The essay, along with the others, is published in a course workbook and sold nationwide, so it's not that obvious that one of the texts would be written in Nousiainen.) I did even mention that the writer is an old classmate of mine. That's as far as I could go on that road...

But to ask the students what they thought about the text and discuss the writer's choices while I couldn't help but think about the personality of my friend and the good times we had in school... One of the most curious situations I've ever been in. And tomorrow it's the same thing with the other group.

If someone had told me back in 1993, when I sat in that exact same classroom listening to our Finnish teacher talk about Boccaccio's classical short stories and about how to analyze short prose, that I'd be on the other side of the same teacher's desk one day, teaching a bunch of kids how to write witty and insightful essays about literature, I would've thought it ridicilous. If that someone would've told me I'd be teaching the stuff using an essay written by him as an example of an excellent essay, I would've died laughing on the floor. Not because I would've had any doubts of his ability to write genious essays, but because I would've thought the image of the overall situation hilarious.

I suppose the Earth has turned many enough times for this to happen. I had to write a short email to this friend of mine and tell him about this. I haven't heard from him in a year or so, but I hope he'll share my amusement. The world is a funny place.

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