Winter 2008 • Vol. XXX No. 1 FictionJanuary 1, 2008 |

Professor Porterfield’s Class

from the forthcoming novel, Beet The better teachers at any level possess invention and imagination. These powers are not the same and are not equal. An imaginative teacher is always inventive, but an inventive teacher is not necessarily imaginative. Between the two, invention is a comparative cinch. It's a three-eared camel or a farting Sri Lankan ambassador or a three-eared Sri Lankan camel schooled in international diplomacy who farts out of one of his three ears. That's all it is. But imagination? Ah. Imagination is enthralled only by the camel, the ordinary humpy, durable, malleable-mouthed, diva-eyed, superior camel. Wow. The imaginative teacher walks around the animal, dreams into it, worries about it aloud in front of a classroom. The students overhear him as he worries. What's so fascinating, Professor? Professor? Can you hear us? Professor? The imaginative teacher is thought itself. And to come upon such a person in a lifetime is to find, well, gold. Peace

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Roger Rosenblatt
Roger Rosenblatt's most recent book is the novel, Thomas Murphy. He is the recipient of the 2015 Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement.

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