Thursday, December 2, 2010

Learning I'M Loving: The Teaching Company

Okay, folks, this one's just for the full-grown among us. You know how when you tear out of the halls of higher learning with that diploma, you think you've left your classroom days far, far behind you ... until the day you decide that maybe, just maybe -- you miss those days? Or you know how when you become a parent and your days turn into a litany of nursing, burping, diapers and Boynton board books, you feel the neurons in that certain part of your brain raising their hands in mass surrender?

(True statement: Until I had kids, I was a whiz with names and faces. And even people's phone numbers. I mean, not like a RainMan kind of whiz, but just, you know, above average. Then it all liquefied into breastmilk. Now my kids are reasonably smart, and I bumble and fumble my way along.)

ANYWAY. A few months ago, my sympathetic mom, still interested in providing for her kids' education, bought me a couple series of CD's from The Teaching Company. One was called The Art of Reading, the other Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft. I know, I know: I'm a woman of far-ranging interests.

The courses, available on DVD or on CD, comprise a series of lectures from professors who are not only experts in their fields, but also award-winning teachers. (As anyone who's ever been to school knows, an great expert and a great teacher ain't always the same thing.) The Teaching Company offers a huge array of fascinating topics, and best of all, they always have some titles on sale. Like, as in, 70% off kind of sale.

I listen to the CD's when I'm alone in the car -- so it's taking me a while to inch my way through them. But it's fun to engage the intellect as a student. Better yet, I'd love to listen with a group and discuss the ideas together. But for now, I get to be the top ten percent of my class! The brightest star in my minivan classroom!

By the way, these would probably make a pretty neat Christmas/Hanukkah/whateveryoucelebrate gift for someone brainy, wannabe-brainy, or used-to-be-brainy in your life. Just sayin'.


JLE said...

Yep, we love The Teaching Company here. Jesse had too many to count before we got married. We still have a lot but have sold off some to make the collection a little more manageable. :)

Tamara said...

Hey, my SIL beat me to the comment! :-) I was going to say that Jesse has/had nearly ALL of these lectures! He's loaned a number of them to me over the years and I love them too. If you need any recommendations he would love to tell you which are his favorites. (Off the top of my head, I remember loving a short one on the author Beatrix Potter, and a longer one on the composer Tchaikovsky.)

Julie said...

Sometimes for a second, just a second, I feel that way, it comes and goes:) I only remember the names of my husband, children and dog:)..okay maybe a few others if I've talked to them for a few...years that is:) I once heard from a doctor that mothers are programmed to forget everything else so they can focus on their babies...who knows why we get this way!

JoAnn said...

About the memory thing.... I remember warning my sister, who was a couple of years behind me in the children raising period, that when your kids get to that wonderful age of Knowing Everything, that not only do they think their parents (especially Mom) are stupid, but you actually get stupid: forget things you used to know, lose track of where they are supposed to be, whose turn it is, etc. You get my drift. Mark Twain said it very well: When I was 16, I couldn't believe how stupid my parents were, and when I was 26 I was amazed at how much they had learned in only ten years. (Not a direct quote, but close). I like what Julie said about Mothers being programmed to forget everything else so they can focus on their babies. Does that go for Grandmothers, too? I hope so. Otherwise, I'll have to come up with another excuse.....