Besser, the College Professor

Dec 9, 2007, 8:40 PM |

Besser, the College Professor

Whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser

And once grew so small

He knew nothing at all

And now he’s a college professor!!! 

I’ll be giving a talk to about 25 Kazakh “college professors” who teach English on Thursday and so should be working on my powerpoint and thinking about what I will say.  Instead, I’ve been cleaning house, wrapping Christmas gifts, sorting papers, anything to distract me from my focus of my upcoming talk.  In fact, I located amongst my papers some Kazakh proverbs that two American friends of mine have isolated during their 11-12 years living in Kazakhstan.  They have written out about 3,000 out of an estimated 15,000 Kazakh proverbs.  They have published a very beautiful book showcasing some Kazakh folk tales.  

The following are proverbs which concerns “speaking:” 

“The one who speaks thoughtlessly will die without being sick.” 

“A precious word is of greater value than a special gift.” 

“If you speak gentle words, the snake will be drawn out;

if you speak harsh words, it  will drive the Muslim from his faith.” 

I DO want my talk about Ukraine’s history and what I felt I achieved with my Ukrainian university students in my writing classroom in Kyiv to come across gracefully but persuasively.  I think I can talk with these Kazakh teachers about avoiding plagiarism, without bringing up that word.  I realize it could offend THEM because many of them have stolen words for their major papers and claimed them as their own!!!  Plagiarism is the bane of most all composition instructors, especially with writers from the former Soviet Union and China.