2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Merry Christmas 1.1!!!

natale

End of trimester, report cards, happy faces, unexpected results, frustration…ahhh this is the true school Christmas spirit, can you smell it? However, whatever the result might have been, you have a lot time to do better, don’t worry ; that’s why I’m going to use more or less the same words I used a year ago to give you my personal wishes, because I believe that in these words you may find my special key to success.It’s my gift to you ;). Well, let’s start.I guess you’ve noticed, especially those who have known me for a while, that I come up very often with some ski metaphors during lessons. Maybe this habit has made you think of me as a great ski lover, but I have to confess you I’m not. I’ve hated skiing for a looooong time.Nevetheless for me skiing is the metaphor of effort rewarded. I’ll try to make myself clear. I  love the sea, sandy beaches, sun, you know, all that stuff and for many years the idea of spending my holidays on the mountains has never crossed my mind till one day, for reasons I’m not going to bother you with, but you may guess ( there is alway a man in somebody’s life that makes you do acts of folly),I found myself ridiculously clothed in a fancy ski suit ready for the ski runs. Actually, I soon understood that I had not the least inclination for skiing. Fear and frustration paralyzed me and for many years no ski school or gorgeous,tanned teacher could improve my poor skills. The only moment of real pleasure was when I took my ski boots off at the end of the day. I had also become the joke of my group of friends. Something had to be done, but I had no clue. One day I was about to ski down a run that my mind had already marked as veeeery difficult when, wow, I had an epiphany. I realized what was the key for my success: the traverse, that is, I could ski across the slope and then turn and then cross and turn …till safely to the end. Smooth. It was nothing new, actually,I had been told about it a thousand times, but this time words had become facts and from that moment on I felt more confident and I started to enjoy the whole situation. The message is that very often we don’t have to change that much to reach success but only be aware of what we can do and adjust it a bit to reach the target. I know that many of you at the idea of the approaching exams in June feel fear and frustration, but the key of your success lies in how you will be able to organize your effort . It is your “traverse” that will take you smoothly to the goal. You’ve got to believe and you will do it. Merry Christmas to you all. 😀

Genesis

genesi

I don’t know what is the impulse that made you conceive the idea of creating a blog: sharing thoughts and experiences? Spreading knowledge? I’m sure everybody had a good reason but I have to admit that I didn’t. The idea of the blog, actually, wasn’t mine but my headteacher’s, my boss. First of all I have to tell you that I am the kind of teacher who is not completely involved in the many activities of the school and in time I have learnt to select the few projects I think I can manage well, thus achieving the perfect balance between the school effort and the world outside. It’s not so easy however. One day, in fact, while I was driving my boss home, out of the blue she came up with this blogging idea, as she had recently visited some schools in Sweden and noticed that every teacher there seems to have his own blog, where to put material, keep contact with families and students and stuff like that. Furthermore it was much easier to manage than a website. Had I created a blog, that would have been the trojan horse that would have torn the medieval veil that hovers our school with its touch of technological modernity. Well, I did it. That’s why, in case you didn’t notice, there is a page in my blog on how creating a WordPress blog: it’s the trojan horse. However I haven’t been that prompt, because at first I couldn’t visualize how to use this new device, as I already managed and educational website and I didn’t want to make it its copy. My first posts, actually, looked like the first baby steps in blogging: short, impersonal, insecure. Yet, there was something positive in blogging: I had got rid of my husband. He had been absolutely indispensable in managing the web site as I am not that good at programming, but now I was completely autonomous. I only needed an idea. When one day I eventually found my muse:football. Well, I have to confess I am a great football fan and in that period my team had just won one of the most important match of the season(good old times!!!) and the joy was so immense that it made think about Wordsworth‘s “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”. It was a true epiphanic moment. At once I set to write a post “Wordsworth and football” about the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads using the metaphor of football to explain Wordsworth‘s themes and for the first time I knew what I was doing and why. The blog could give me the opportunity of giving different perspectives to the topics we studied in class, thus promoting discussions and adding, whenever possible, a certain impression of lightness to the process of learning. It actually worked. Since then I kept on writing almost weekly and with this “unbirthday” post I felt like celebrating my first year of blogging, fun, personal growth. Thank you all.

Creatures and creators

Blake_Dante_Inverno_II    
What is the meaning of our life? Are we here by chance or are we the product of some unintelligible scheme? If so, why? Are we ever going to have an answer? Maybe one day science will be able to provide us with all the responses we need, but in the meantime we still instinctively rely on that religious vision of men created by a god like being, who for some reasons must have started all this. If we totally get rid of this paradigm and accept our presence in the universe as the mere result of chance, alone in the universe, our life would appear somehow nonsensical. If there is a creator, let’s hope he had good reasons. Victor Frankenstein, as modern Prometheus, believed he had good reasons for sure, but the result of his arrogant defy to the laws of nature had produced a horrible, hideous creature that he had cruelly sentenced to eternal misery and loneliness. The monster is, in fact, rejected twice: both by human beings, thus becoming a social outcast, and by his own creator, who despises him not only for his ugliness, but also because he is the reminder on earth of his mortal limits. Victor declines the moral implication of his act towards his creation, who will strenuously try to nail him to his responsibilities of maker till the end, when he eventually kills him. The monster is the unfortunate expression of an imperfect creator. But the perfect, ” fearful symmetry”  of Blake‘s “Tiger” , from the homonymous poem, tells us of the vigor and superiority of this creator, who forged the frightening beast. Prometheus or the Greek God Hephaestus, who could be the hand that “seized the fire”? And once again, why? If the Tiger stands for fear, destructive power, evil, why did this God make it? To make us suffer? These thoughts pervade Blake’s mind, in a crucial moment of his life, that is  when you find yourself in “the forest of the night” : the age of doubt or, to use Blake’s words, the age of experience. Blake borrowed that image from Dante‘s  first Canto of Inferno, a poet that he knew well as he had illustrated the Divine Comedy, when the artist says that in the middle of the path of his life, he found himself in a “selva oscura“, the dark forest of uncertainty and doubt. This state of psychological frailty is pointed out by the numerous unanswered questions that make the structure of Bake’s poem and the last one, in particular, displays all the poet’s bewilderment: how can it be that the same God who created the meek, loving Lamb (good), forged the fearful tiger (evil) as well? All his sense of uneasiness is in the missing rhyme of the refrain, that “symmetry” that can’t fit in the rhyming scheme of the stanza, stands for the poet’s doubt who feels unfit to understand the divine scheme of creation, he is part of something without knowing why.