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Updated by duniporter42 on Nov 22, 2017
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“9 reasons to pick Walt Whitman as your Spring 2017 UTA Professor”

Have you ever been unsure which Professor to choose? We know how you feel. Here's a professor worth getting out of bed for, even in your pajamas.

1

Introduction:

For my listicle, I wanted it to be relatable in the sense of students, professors, and academia in which I chose to address Walt Whitman as a future professor at UTA. Honestly, who wouldn’t want Whitman as a professor just for the heck of it? I certainly would. The type of person the speaker depicts in “Song of Myself” is universal and daring. Connecting Whitman back to being a professor at the university, he would be one that is remembered while challenging his students to stray away from the conventional methods of thinking society has bestowed upon us and find your own truth in life. Apart from deviating from the norm, Whitman would also empathize with his students, understanding the task of achieving a Bachelor’s degree by placing himself in the same situation relaying to his students that that are not alone in these trials and tribulations. Furthermore, Whitman is someone you would want to further your education and drop words of wisdom in your life daily.

2

NO required textbook

NO required textbook

“Have you practis’d so long to learn to read? Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?” (Section 2)
“You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books” (Section 2)
“Logic and sermons never convince, the damp of the night drives deeper into my soul.” (Section 30)

Where in a syllabus have you read no required textbook needed? Very few I suppose. Walt Whitman being a “teacher” in many forms has concluded that books don’t justify the meaning of life and what there is to learn. You don’t need to look at what others have deemed right or return to predecessor’s writings to configure your own meaning behind what you feel or see because your own experiences are valid enough. I don’t know about other students or professors, but I feel exceptionally intelligent when I have mastered a certain task within academia and can articulate it to others though Whitman suggests we abandon this type of thinking and not pride ourselves at getting to the “meaning” of poems. We as people can’t learn everything we need to know from books instead we must discover things for ourselves. How liberating a professor would be if they allowed their students to explore their own meaning of things within the course, without being tied down to 400-page textbook that merely gives instruction and doesn’t give the opportunity for discovery. Professor Whitman will not have a textbook in his class and allow his students freedom to think for themselves and not look towards old sources for guidance. A person who allows you to create your own thoughts and perspectives as an individual is of good quality in your life furthermore, a professor you should want in your college experience.

3

Many classes would be devoted to students finding “themselves” in nature and the real world instead of the classroom

Many classes would be devoted to students finding “themselves” in nature and the real world instead of the classroom

“Oxen that rattle the yoke and chain or halt in the leafy shade, what is
that you express in your eyes?
It seems to me more than all the print I have ever read in my life.” (Section 13)

Professor Whitman is concerned with immediacy specifically with the outside world. He looks into the eyes of an ox and is completely enthralled with the endless discoveries there is in the universe while having that instant connection. In comparison, many of classes wouldn’t be in the confinement of a room but out in the real world where you gain experience first-hand instead of in a book or choked up in the walls of a classroom. How interesting would that be? To get an email explaining that class is not necessarily canceled in the sense of staying in your bed, but relocated to another place which will be different for all students. Having someone who is in touch with themselves enough to understand that the classroom isn’t the only physical place someone can retain knowledge and grasp what life has to offer is someone I would want teaching me and even someone I would look-up to.

4

You would be considered an equal

You would be considered an equal

“For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you” (Section 1)
“In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barley-corn less,
And the good or bad I say of myself I say of them.” (Section 20)

Have you ever felt as if your professor was on some sort of pedestal and you were way below their stature? Well not this semester if you enroll in Whitman’s course. He is the definition of equality among people. For everything he has, you too share the same qualities and characteristics. In everyone he encounters he is also seeing himself, in other words we all our on the same level and no one is above one another regardless of age, race or intelligence. Whether someone is good or bad, Professor Whitman believes we have equal importance. Whitman is not only your professor, but he is your counterpart. Someone who oversees your grades and GPA is usually seen as higher authority, but Professor Whitman disagrees with this notion and places both of you in identical positions. Normally in society, we as people like to place ourselves above one another because of the things we acquire and the lifestyle we are able to live however, Walt Whitman is not into this practice which makes him someone to model, emulate, and strive to be.

5

Past grades will be forgotten and replaced with present ones because all that is important is “now”

Past grades will be forgotten and replaced with present ones because all that is important is “now”

“There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now” (Section 3)

Woah hold on…past grades are forgotten? Excuse me? Don’t worry you’re reading correctly. Professor Whitman is interested in the present not the past. There is no better time to change who you are, be who you want to be, and perfect your day then today. He believes we are living in the present so why focus on any other moment of time? All history is history of the present moment. We should not worry ourselves with what has come before us or that will come after us. All that matters are the decisions we make now, and our attitudes towards life as we endure it. Your grades will be assessed on a day to day basis that improves as you get a higher score. Tired of having past grades effect your overall record in the class? Well sign up for this course because your past won’t reflect what you are capable of doing now. Professor Whitman is someone who appreciates education but wants you to experience it for yourself, therefore your actions now are most important. A person shouldn’t solely be concerned with previous actions but how you can be the best version of yourself today, and that is who Professor Whitman is.

6

Professor Whitman is interested in life outside of the classroom, specifically how society treats mankind

Professor Whitman is interested in life outside of the classroom, specifically how society treats mankind

“A runaway slave came to my house and stopt outside,
I heard his motions crackling the twigs of the woodpile,
Through the swung half-door of the kitchen I saw him limpsy and weak,
And went where he sat on a log and led him in and assured him,
And brought water and fill’d a tub for his sweated body and bruis’d feet,
And gave him a room that enter’d from my own,
And gave him some coarse clean clothes,
And remembered perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness,
And remember putting plasters on the galls of his neck and ankles;
He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and pass’d north,
I had him sit next me at table, my fir-lock lean’d in the corner.” (Section 10)

Professor Whitman recounts a time where he took in a runaway slave and assured that he was going to do him no harm, because during this time it was unusual for people of color to be associated with whites unless they were enslaved. Whitman was disgusted with how society treated the slave and took it upon himself to nurse him back to health. Such a good guy huh? Yes, Walt Whitman is an abolitionist who isn’t fond of slavery. If this doesn’t make you sign up for his class, then I don’t know what will. He doesn’t conform to what society thinks is acceptable because he thinks everyone should be treated as equals. He is a person that believes in fairness no matter the circumstances nevertheless a quality a person should have.

7

He realizes that everyone is different and celebrates student’s diversity

He realizes that everyone is different and celebrates student’s diversity

“I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise,
Regardless of others, ever regardful of others,
Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man” (Section 16)

“I resist any thing better than my own diversity” (Section 16)

Whitman embodies a lot of diverse people in his poetry and he concurs that he is not just one person, he is everyone. He is old and young, wise and dumb and it doesn’t matter the difference. Professor Whitman supports the differences of others and rejoices in them. Whitman is someone who can teach people of different backgrounds and being an educator, you will have students of different lifestyles, so you must adapt to them. Having a professor who is educated enough to know that not everyone isn’t the same and accepts diversity is much needed in every individual but most importantly the world. This is one of the many qualities Whitman possesses hence the type of person we should all strive to be.

8

Your beliefs will be valid to him regarding religion and spirituality

Your beliefs will be valid to him regarding religion and spirituality

“Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth,
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of god is the brother of my own.” (Section 5)

“How you settled your head athwart my hips and gently turn’d over upon me,
And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart
And reach’d till you felt my beard, and reach’d till you held my feet.” (Section 5)

Walt Whitman is believed to be a mystic because of his ability to establish a connection between his spirit and the divine spirit. In these lines the speaker depicts the ecstatic declaration of the merge of his body and with his soul. The poet has a feeling of unification and oneness with God and his community. Professor Whitman believed that our spiritual experiences are feasible without giving up our sexual desires as well. He celebrates sex and the senses. Woah, it got kind of hot and heavy in here all of sudden huh? Well Whitman is just expressing that he isn’t going to separate the spiritual connection you might have in relation to other desires. He is no prude. In a classroom setting where it is acceptable to acknowledge sex and it attributes is kind of unheard of, but Whitman calls all his students to be intimate with their soul which can lead to joy and knowledge. This quality of Whitman allows himself to be honest and courageous making him a person to model.

9

Professor Whitman is fully aware of the “college struggle”

Professor Whitman is fully aware of the “college struggle”

“What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me” (Section 14)

Every college student is familiar with the term: free. We live by it. If it’s free and near us we are all for it. Whitman expresses whatever is available, convenient, and cheapest is for him. That is the reason there is no text book and students are learning by experience. Professor Whitman isn’t going to ask you to spend the little cash you may have on a book rather he empathizes with his students recalling a time where he has been in their shoes. Someone who can understand another’s point of view even though there not in the exact situation at that moment is someone of good influence.

10

You will be addressed to “come as you are” in Professor Whitman’s syllabus because he certainly will

You will be addressed to “come as you are” in Professor Whitman’s syllabus because he certainly will

“I wear my hat as I please indoors or out” (Section 20)
“Unscrew the locks from the doors! Unscrew the door themselves form their jambs!” (Section 24)

Pajamas? Cowboy hat? Hole in your socks? Ripped jeans? These attires would be more than acceptable to Walt Whitman. Whitman wears his hat as he pleases so why shouldn’t the rest of the class? He would prefer you to come as you are because that is the best representation of yourself. Professor Whitman is the faculty member that encourages you to express your individuality and dress however you feel. This would be radical for students who may feel self-conscious because society wants to dress a certain way, but in the presence of Mr. Whitman you can be whoever you choose for that day. Also, in society we tend to shield who we are from others, but Whitman proclaims that we need to unlock the doors specifically to our souls and stop hiding who we really are. Another key reason to have Whitman as your professor and more so, how a person should conduct themselves is the encouragement that is provided to be yourself.