My favorite class in college was Arthurian Legends and Romance. It sounds a bit fluffy, I know, but not as bad as Medieval Tales of Wonder, which I also took. This class, as you may have guessed, was a literature class. It looked at the Arthurian tales from their origins into their modern day interpretations. As there should be in literature classes, there was a lot of reading. Much of it was in Old English which made it a bit more challenging. This class also had one of only two positive group project experiences I had in college, and I did more group projects than I care to count. The copious amounts of reading, which I enjoy, and the group project were only small reasons why this class was my favorite. It was the instructor who really made it what it was.
She was one of those rare people who can instill their love and passion into others who are initially ambivalent. These stories and legends were something she loved in any form, and her passion is what made it so interesting. She was German, born and raised there, and later moved to the U.S. She brought a wide perspective and a large scope of resources to class with her. Her enthusiasm continued throughout the semester, and I think it’s what made the group project go so well. It wasn’t just me who was energized but the rest of the class too. It’s rare these days to find a teacher who truly makes her students want to do a good job. I’ve found that many teachers are as ambivalent as their students, but our education system is beside the point.
The content of the class was something she immersed herself in. She showed numerous TV and movie clips to illustrate the development of the legend. The books we read she knew inside and out, and she talked about the characters as if they were her friends. As book lovers know, you become attached to characters, their stories, and their well-being. She knew the Arthurian characters’ quirks and foibles from what seemed like every book ever written about them.
My interest in the Arthurian story started as just a bit of curiosity. Now it is one of my favorite legends, and I enjoy seeing how it pops up in books and movies.
That ability to instill passion in another person or at least an interest to learn more is priceless. If I had had more teachers like that, my school experience would have been quite different.
By Melissa Blakely
All images from Pixabay.com.