Back in High school we had an English professor whom everyone feared. She earned the nickname Grendel – from the Epic Beowulf. She was terrifying for many of the students. Just imagine making you stand if you did not know the answer. There was one time when all the students in one class stood until one of them got the answer right. One classmate of mine even volunteered to stand because he knew it was inevitable. She was a terrifying teacher.
We came prepared for the battle
From discussion on the Canterbury Tales to Beowulf to the lyrics of Hotel California, we were ready to take on the battle with Grendel. We had study groups, we took time to research and even talk to other teachers about the topics we will discuss. Coming to the class prepared meant no standing and limited amounts of humiliation.
Although we stood as individuals when we gave erroneous answers, we took on the challenge as a team. The class was relatively small compared to other public schools. This made it easier for us to band together and to face the battle with Grendel as once mighty force.
We came ready to question her ideas
Our teacher called Grendel was a force to behold. Though small in stature, her intellect towered all of us. But one commendable attribute of this highly feared mentor was her willingness to have an intellectual argument about anything under the sun. Of course we wanted to beat her at her own game so we continued to read and learn as much as we could. We won a few and lost a few. But every encounter was beautiful play of parries and lunges.
We became ready to face the wonderful reality called life
Unknowingly, our English subject was transformed into a class all about life. In the guise of formal themes, research papers, grammar, syntax, techniques and all those nitty-gritty part of the subject, we were taught about life. And yes, unknowingly we came to adore the once feared Grendel.
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