The point of an English degree (Stewart Lee)

‘The universities minister, Michelle Donelan, wants to chop courses where “fewer than 60% of graduates are in professional employment or further study within 15 months of graduating”. She misunderstands the point of studying the arts. […] The point of an English degree is to inspire those who take it with such a love of literature that they spend the next decade serving in bars while trying to complete their Great Work. And if that doesn’t fly, they must become English teachers, handing on the same curse of loving literature to future generations, their collective misery deepening like a coastal shelf, just as our collective understanding of the works grows because of their efforts.’

– Stewart Lee (2022, 3 June). Tory contempt for the arts means we face a second dark age. The Guardian.

Making an effort to meet your students’ needs

“Most of his students were young apprentices in the building trade, and when he walked in to teach his first class he asked them what it was they wanted to learn – what difficulties did they face in their lives that he could really help them with? It turned out that their greatest concern was with lack of sleep. So Colin duly crammed his brain full of the scholarly literature on sleep and set about teaching a term of classes on the art of sleeping. It is a story that has always stayed with me as a teacher, the ultimate example of making an effort to meet your students’ needs.”

Roman Krznaric on Colin Ward

Education happens between individuals

“At the most fundamental level, education happens between individuals — a personal connection, however long or short, between mentor and student. Whether it’s personally answering a question raised in class, spending twenty minutes working through a tricky idea in office hours, or spending years of close collaboration in a PhD mentorship relationship, the human connection matters to both sides. It resonates at levels far deeper than the mere conveyance of information — it teaches us how to be social together and sets role models of what it is to perform in a field, to think rigorously, to be professional, and to be intellectually mature.”

– Terran Lane, On Leaving Academia