(scene from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1969)
An educator friend forwarded a thoughtful essay called “Prime Time,” written by high-school English teacher Amanda Parrish for a literary journal called n+1. Ms. Parrish explores what it means to be a teacher and ruminates on various models for making connections to teens in the classroom. With the end of the school year and summer upon us, I thought it an appropriate moment to share Parrish’s thoughts. Like me, she loved/loves The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, both the novel and the film, finding unanswerable contradictions in Miss Brodie’s character and methods. The longer I live, the more I see that we all grapple with irreconcilable contradictions in just about every corner of our lives. It’s our challenge to live fully and well with those contradictions, and if we’re in the business of education, to help young people balance those contradictions too.
What are your thoughts about this last school year and connecting with your students? Success stories to share? Maybe a favorite line or two from Miss Jean Brodie? (Mine is “I do not intend to devote my prime to petrification!” Video clip below of this very scene, in which Miss Brodie outlines her philosophy of education—and life—to her girls). Enjoy your summer! And check in again in two weeks for more from TFCB!