“A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary” -Thomas Carruthers

A throwback from a blogspot entry:


FRIDAY, APRIL 30, 2010


I didn’t really read this.

Just Challies’s blog blurb: Miss Whitebread Was Wrong – Andy Unedited: “‘Always make an outline before you start writing.’ Isn’t that what your fifth grade teacher told you? Well, I’m sorry to break this to you, but Miss Whitebread was wrong. In my continuing series of Stupid Things You Were Taught in School let me deconstruct this bad boy.”

Then I got huffy puffy. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this argument and others like it (ie: down with grammar and spelling!), but really, I’d argue that we NEED the Miss Whitebreads and we ought to have a Daniel Webster Day and yes, even grammar has its rightful place by the literary throne.

It is BECAUSE we learned the cumbersome outline, the awful writing process, that we now have the ability to write without using one.  I am such a stickler of the 5-paragraph essay in middle school simply because once you have the rules down pat, you will have a tolerable essay.  Once that’s mastered, you can toss it out the window and write magnificently.  But before you walk, my friend, you crawl!

Of course, there are exceptions (I never learned to crawl – my mom said I was so lazy, I just sat somewhere and if I needed something, I’d skootch over on my butt.  One day, I stood up).  But really, it is because of these technicalities that we can even write or argue against them.

I’ve heard both sides of the argument; getting drilled in the “proper” essay by Ms. Sarles freshman year and then throwing it out the window by my crazy Rhetoric 10 lecturer in college.  Both has merit.  But really, Mr. Rhet 10… COFFEEN .. HE would not be able to encourage our stream-of-conscious written crap college papers, if it were not for the years of 5-paragraph-indoctrination.



2 responses to ““A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary” -Thomas Carruthers

  1. Hmm, interesting. “Before you walk, crawl!” I like it.

    I also like the story of you not crawling. You make me smile. 🙂

  2. Haha yes- I was a lazy baby.

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