I pay tribute to Aldo Palazzeschi, from whom I take inspiration to ask myself about Literature and myself. I arrived a few years after retirement after having worked in the School, even with the interruption of five years, starting in September 1975.
I don’t have an idea, and actually I’m not even looking for it, which will be my work activity in a not remote future, I don’t know if I can continue to have space in the Education system.
Like so many teachers I have the perception of a continuous fall in the level of preparation of the new generations but, above all, of the impoverishment of what is today called “training offer”.
In particular I verify, I would say almost daily, how literary studies we have lost, and are still losing, space, effectiveness, ability to involve and, perhaps, meaning within the School.
I do not know how to fully express my disgust with the tools and teaching aids with which teachers, today, usually confront each other, with the help of which the students are called to learn (or to acquire “skills” to be more “didactically”). correct”).
I feel overwhelmed by the foolishness and rhetoric that, with growing obstinacy, characterizes the central provisions of the school authority.
I have no time, but no desire either (or probably very limited ability) to write a book about my experience.
Why a Blog? (Why write?)
I do not even have any intention of designing a textbook that will put my years of teaching to good use and propose my ideas on teaching.
Yet I feel a growing desire to communicate to others what I think, to urge other teachers to discuss what I seem to see in the School, to listen to voices outside the choir or to escape from the nothingness that sometimes seems to me to envelop the future of Literature.
I also feel a growing desire to maintain contact with some of my former students, above all to solicit the memory and reflection of those who have addressed themselves to the studies that it was customary to call “humanities”.
In short: I still hope to be able to say something, to serve something,
What to write?
I don’t “put the lens” in front of my heart, but in front of my profession.
I thought of a Blog to say what I think about the School, to have fun (as Palazzeschi said), to affirm the principles I believe in, to tickle other teachers to do the same, to look for contacts and consonances with my ideas, for to present what is still interesting to do, to exorcise the discouragement that threatens to paralyze me.
I thought of a sector blog, not on the problems of the school, not on the hopes of the school, but on problems and hopes connected to the teaching of literature.
When people ask me what I do at school, I usually say that I teach Italian and Latin but, in fact, if I have to summarize and express the essence of my profession, I prefer to say that I teach “Literature”. The title I thought of for this blog depends on the belief that the state of literary studies in today’s school is constantly falling, both in terms of quantity and, above all, quality. But regret, if something does not happen, if it does not happen I do not know what, it may be even more profound than here over the next few years: mine is therefore a part title, a title that takes a stand against the School of today. I also realize, based on what I read and the discussions with friends, colleagues and students, that I am not a stylist on a column: I hope in this Blog to find consonances and stimuli to deepen the discussion, I hope to see it grow again inside yes, aspirations and hopes.
For this desire to move forward I have to thank the meeting that continues with my students. I’m getting old, and I’m perhaps more careful to understand the manifestations of affection and esteem, which in recent years have made me think more than I did when I was young. It is also true that in the last few years I have mostly abandoned myself to a sometimes histrionic (or “Gascon” attitude, as a very good and dear colleague once said) that, despite the daily work of teaching, opened the way to a more frequent communication with the (former) students and with the students themselves.
The Blog is divided into four sections. In the first one (Deprecatio Temporum) I express my reflections on everything that is against me in today’s school, above all for provisions and provisions that have or have had a negative effect on the study and knowledge of literature.
In the second one (A nautical map to find the route in the great sea of being) I talk about my way of understanding the study of Literature, selecting about the work of over twenty years, presenting, both programming documents and methodological proposals, both concrete educational experiences.
The third section (All that remains once you have forgotten everything) intends to give voice only to alumni (not only my former students) on everything they wish to propose about literary studies, about what Literature has left them in inheritance
The fourth section (Digressions) was inserted last, in September 2017 and contains articles not related to the study of Literature but written for the pleasure of doing so: travel stories, short stories or fairy tales and, more generally, pages linked by the taste of leave the pen – by now, to tell the truth, the keyboard – in freedom.