SCQ: I’m sure it will be. But, let’s go back to your class. You said that your students are getting an education. Can you be just a little more specific? What are they actually learning?
Mrs. Lantz: They are learning about their capacities, for one thing.
SCQ: Capacity for learning? For understanding?
Mrs. Lantz: That’s not exactly what I mean. I’ll refer to those things as abilities. “Capacities” is something else. Not as active and not as easily measured. I’m talking about capacity to enjoy, capacity to appreciate, to be thrilled or enraptured by something.
SCQ: And that has to be taught?
Mrs. Lantz: In a way, yes. I don’t think it’s something that a teacher can create, but a capacity can remain dormant and never discovered if the student is never exposed to those things that might fill it up or stimulate it.
SCQ: Give me an example.
Mrs. Lantz: I think that my students are deeper than the culture they are surrounded by, twenty-four, seven. They might feel some hollowness or emptiness because of that, but they will not see the positive side of things until they are exposed to something that strikes them at their depth. They won’t know their own strength, in a way. They’ll just feel out of place, and they might destroy their own personalities or selves in an attempt to grind themselves into that square hole they feel they must fit into.
SCQ: I think I see what’s coming. Jane Austen?
Mrs. Lantz: You bet. These girls fall in love with these books. With these stories. With these characters. They fill the girls’ hearts like nothing else in the culture that surrounds them. It’s more satisfying.
SCQ: So. Life is more enjoyable for them?
Mrs. Lantz: Yes. And that would be enough. That is an end in itself. But there is more.
SCQ: Somehow I just knew that.
Mrs. Lantz: This experience teaches the girls that some things are better than others.
SCQ: That has to be taught?
Mrs. Lantz: In some ways, yes. What the culture they are immersed in preaches is that one thing is just as good as any other thing. And if you believe differently, you’re a prig. You’re judgemental.