Delicate Fusion: The Unification Value of Literature, Writing, and Art Conjoined In The Classroom

This week marked my first deliverance of a lesson in literature and writing to a varied group of students.

I have functioned as a tutor and instructor for nearly two consecutive years in two central professional contexts, and in my (admittedly short) time doing so, making the transition to instructing a group of students felt natural and made me glow with happiness upon seeing their interests brighten. But providing students the inspiration to focus on Homeric epics isn’t always easy, and connectivity back to creativity is the core of a successful liberal arts classroom. This balanced fusion is critical to the effective delivery of lessons which directly involve either, something which provides corroboration to my choice to enhance my understanding of art through the pursuit of graduate work in English — and vice versa.

At this point in my comparatively-short spans of experience, I have worked with students from multiple social demographics — refugees struggling to learn an American educational system, students impoverished by injustices of bureaucracy, students from unimaginable wealth and privilege, all of highly varied sociological circumstance. In the face of this variation, there is unification in the value of instruction on these topics — each student can find a relatable value to literature, writing, and the arts. Remembering this tenet reflects our humanity in itself, bringing the concept full-circle and providing more food for thought in the classroom and on the street.

Coming from the art world, I was trained at the foundational level to understand the importance of all of the principles of art, the most important of which (in my opinion), unofficially rests with the conveyance of human emotion and the interrelation of all aspects of existence and expression across all of the arts.

The future of education is tangibly and critically connected to the willingness of educators to truly educate — that is to say, to teach students to think for themselves in the hope that those same students promote the same values throughout their lives in any endeavor they choose to undertake.

The bond I see between literature and art speaks to me in a way which helps me speak to others. In so doing, I am made a better student, a better instructor, a better artist, a better writer, and a better person. In so doing, I am myself. The promise my students hold — which so visibly manifests during these lessons alone — inspires me thoroughly and through them, I realize where I am needed in the world.  I make no apologies for my choice to transition fields on these grounds alone:

Perpetuating the value of studying art, literature, and writing — especially in conjunction with one another — is my greatest continuing goal and hope, and daily I am fortunate enough to be reminded of the value of my contributions to such. To reach students in the hope of reminding them that we are all creators, with equally opposite inclinations, abilities, and perspectives, each of which augment the other for the benefit of the world when applied to passion and effort.

I believe it is our humanity which makes students (and teachers) good writers, artists, and educators. To be kind, to be considerate, and to be sensitive (skills other jobs may consider a detriment to productivity) is a greater skill than could ever be taught — expect by study of the arts. This enables us the ability to pass along these values, implying that we are all tasked with the advancement of the world considering the innate talent of every human being. This daunting responsibility can be just this — but in the world of English and Writing, as with the world of art, this humanity makes our jobs more amazing, our skills more effective, and our students more well-rounded.

In a few short weeks, I will make the academic transition to the world of English Literature — with specific focus on late Victorian literature — at the University of Glasgow as a research student where I will again become the student, a journey I am incredibly excited to begin. Upon undertaking this new chapter, I will simultaneously be student and teacher, an experience which I hope to ground my academic sensibilities in humility and grace. In reality, there will be long nights and coffee-fueled reading binges, and my hair will succumb to the humidity of the United Kingdom. But whatever bad hair days may come, I believe I have found serenity in the delicacy of fusion personally and professionally.

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Caroline C. Evans Abbott

I am a Master of Research (M.Res) candidate in English Literature at the University of Glasgow (expected 2017), an incoming MFA Creative Writing candidate at Sarah Lawrence College (expected 2019), and a recent Honors Program graduate of the B.A. Studio Art program at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut (2015). From 2015 - 2016, I served as an English, Writing, and Creative Enrichment Tutor at the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, a Native American Reservation in Brooks, California and from 2014 - 2015 as a Writing Associate (Tutor) in the Albertus Magnus College Writing Centre. I am a Contributor and Photographer to The Glasgow Guardian and represent M.Res English Literature students on the Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) and Students' Representative Council (SRC). This year, I look forward to writing, photographing my perspective on our world, exploring Europe, and pursuing further academic and professional opportunity.

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