Observing teachers who have 20+ years’ practice in teaching English language and literature is an overwhelming and intimidating experience. They teach literature as if they know the texts by heart (which I am beginning to think they do), and respond to students’ questions in ways that are indicative of their clear confidence before a classroom. Although I consider myself to be confident in my knowledge of literature at 3rd year level, I don't have the ability to confidently prattle off Shakespeare as if it were the chorus of a song. How do teachers remember random verses and their places within various texts with such precision? That’s my classroom observation ‘wow’ moment.
Indeed, there are as many literary texts in the world as there are people (which may be an exaggeration – or not) and it is a fact which bothers me. At present, I am reading through Othello, The Great Gatsby, notes on visual literacy, The Kite Runner, Macbeth, and poetry. These texts are but drops in an ocean of literature, the majority of which I feel I ought to know and understand well enough to be qualified to teach. Nonetheless, all marvellous teachers were budding experts at one point in their lives. For me, that point is here, the Right Now of today.