Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Teaching The Lord of the Flies is the best thing ever. I have to admit that I was very worried about choosing a book that I actually love so much. Last year taught me that more I was invested in a work or an idea in particular, the harder it hit me when the kids spit all over it. I learned very quickly that I had to keep my sights set on helping them improve and not really invest in my own likes and dislikes.
I still think that is a pretty good idea. Being an English teacher, I had all these fantasies about how I was going to instill this love of literature and help my impoverished students escape the problems in their lives through books. I realized that there were particular books I had in mind and particular ways I wanted them to show me they were loving literature and escaping their problems…I think in my head it looked a lot like an after-school special. I even had this particular outfit I would be wearing--button-down red long-sleeved shirt tucked into perfectly tailored khaki slacks, and a shiny silver bracelet.
I figured out pretty quickly that they don’t all like what I like. And that I was going to be too tired every day to iron slacks and I don’t like wearing bracelets. So I am in school today in my college hoodie, slightly wrinkled corduroy pants, and tennis shoes. And I don’t try to make them love what I love…well, yes I do, but I try not to take it as hard when they don’t.
But this book! They do love it! And they are making connections and saying the smartest things in the world. They are really engaged in this and they aren’t even focusing on this complicated game I created to trick them into learning. Two of my high level classes are really grooving on symbolism—which is what I loved about Lord of the Flies when I was a kid. They rock my world.
My two lower classes have no idea what I am talking about and hate the book. I don’t know how to make them understand even the most basic of concepts. But my two other classes show me how fun it could be to teach English if all my kids cared and could read well. It is a good day, so far.
¶ 7:22 AM