My favorite session so far at SBL was the applied linguistics session focusing on the new grammars of Daniel Webster and Jo Ann Hackett, though the session was far more heavily weighted toward Hackett’s text. The most interesting part of the session was the reviews. And, what made the reviews interesting was that two of the reviewers of Hackett’s text were former students of hers.
You could tell that Martien Halvorson-Taylor and Vivian Johnson both had a profound respect for Hackett. It made me wish that I could at some point sit in on one of her classes. She must be a fantastic teacher in the classroom.
Both Halvorson-Taylor and Johnson had many wonderful things to say about the grammar; however, the most interesting part was when they came to criticisms. To criticize Hackett made both of them seem a little bit uncomfortable. But, you could then tell that their criticisms were genuine.
All in all, it made me consider the type of instructor I would like to be regardless of the discipline. Whether one teaches Hebrew or Old Testament or whatever, we ought to strive to have the kind of relationship with students that breeds the kind of mutual respect that I saw between Hackett and her former students. And, we ought to strive to develop students who are one day strong enough and competent enough to stand up and offer us criticism, but we’ll know that criticism is genuine and meant constructively because of the relationship that we have built with them.