Category Archives: University

The Zwarte Piet Debacle From the Outside, Again

zwarte clownOkay, it’s the end of November and that means that Sinterklaas (Saint Nicholas) is arriving in the Netherlands, with his helpers, who have traditionally been all called Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). The Zwarte Pieten are traditionally white people with blackface. People of color in the Netherlands have gradually become vocal about not liking that and the Dutch reaction is incredibly embarrassing to me. Continue reading

What Passes for History Here

This post doesn’t live here anymore. It migrated to my other blog:

The Big No-No:  An Outsider on American Fascism, where it resides under the title:

“What Passes for American History Education is Pathetic, and Now I Know Why”

Brigham Young and Infamous Legacies in General

Brigham Young(image from biography.com)

Brigham Young
(image from biography.com)

Well, I’ll probably be banned from ever entering Utah for this, but here goes.

I just read The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. It tells the somewhat parallel stories of two nineteenth wives: Ann Eliza Webb, wife of Brigham Young, the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints’  second leader in the 1870s, Continue reading

Fallen Gods

The other day I was talking with an elderly man while we were both waiting at the garage for our tires to be fixed. He told me his son is a football coach and a teacher—I don’t know what subject he teaches. He worked at a charter school for years until it went under recently. So a little while ago he worked as a substitute at a regular public school for a week. A public school here in Austin in what’s considered a good neighborhood, so it’s a reasonably well-rated school. Continue reading

Debate

Notes From a University Student  14

A few months ago a debate was organized between one of my professors in the English department who’s a Croat, and an American professor in the political science department, about the situation in Kosovo and whether or not America should intervene.

It was interesting…

Is Our Children Learning?

Notes From a University Student  12

In order to be a teaching assistant, I had to take a course on how to teach writing. Other than that it was annoying that students in Mexico were taking the course long-distance and that the technical difficulties were interrupting the flow, I have no memory of learning how to teach writing. But I got an A and now I’m a teaching assistant.

In the English department of this university being a teaching assistant doesn’t mean I assist anybody. I just teach. I teach two classes of university students Remedial English.

What’s that like?

Watch Out For Inflation

Notes From a University Student 11

Pieter Breugel The Tower of Babel

 Not everything related to education here can be easily translated into Dutch. To American standards I’m studying at a university, but to Dutch standards that’s a rather big word.

Let me explain.

Those Elusive Urals

Notes From a University Student 10

Sir Philip Sidney

Right now I’m doing a course about the development of the English novel, from the Renaissance to halfway the eighteenth century.

The professor is a nice guy and a specialist in the eighteenth century. Every now and then it’s embarrassingly apparent that he doesn’t know much about the Renaissance, but once we had arrived in the eighteenth century it started to be fun.

A ton of reading…

Finally!

Notes From a University Student 9

I started taking two courses for a master’s degree in English last month, but I’ve already dropped the Bible as Literature class.

First of all it turned out that my baby boy will only let me do one course a semester, and second of all it was boring as all get-out. Not at any higher level than the average undergrad class that I took. More infantile tests, and everything we had to read at home was discussed again in class.

Very disappointing.

Magner Come Lowdy

Notes From a University Student 7

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Mary Had a Little Lamb

Notes From a University Student  6

Illustration Kate Greenaway

One of the first days on my job as librarian at that small high school, I was sitting behind my desk, sorting catalog cards – yes, cards in 1995!—and some students were sitting at a table near me, showing each other pictures.

One girl who couldn’t have been more than fifteen asked me if I wanted to see pictures of her son. I started to laugh, and then remembered that America has a problem with teen pregnancies. I quickly turned it into a cough. She wasn’t joking.

To put it in perspective:

Viva Mexico

Santa Anna

You would think that for a Dutch person living in South Texas, taking a History of Contemporary Mexico course would at least be useful, right?

I was even looking forward to it.

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Around the World in Five Weeks

Notes From a University Student 4

The registrar, after telling me that the courses I took in middle and high school in Holland didn’t count, had then turned around and given me credit for a few, so in the second summer session I took two history courses, all the courses I needed to have a minor in history.

I couldn’t be a librarian, but after these two five-week courses I could conceivably teach history in high school.

The first course was World History, for 90 minutes a day. World History is also taught in high school here, but you can get around it, and anyway, in high school it’s usually also just one semester.

Since history isn’t taught properly in high school, you have to take it again in college, where it also isn’t taught properly, because how on earth can you teach world history from Mesopotamia to the present in one semester or in a five-week summer course?

Well, let me tell you.

Look at Me–I Can Read!

Notes From a University Student 3

The second summer course was Survey of English Literature from the Romantics to the Present.

That was a great course. It was largely a survey of poets and poetry, but since I hadn’t had much poetry in high school, most of this was new to me.

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Huh?

Notes From a University Student 2

image from strategicdc.com

image from strategicdc.com

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3=3, Or Does It?

Notes From a University Student 1

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