Current/Recent Reading List

28 October 2006

Let Us Now Praise Unspoiled Men, Err... Students

Hopefully my feelings about our Spirit Week have been established by now. I actually have an addendum about the whole stinkin' mess, based on a fascinating conversation I had with the football coach yesterday, but I promised reader Jimmy something hopeful, so I will save the addendum for my next post.

Now for the happy, fuzzy stuff (sorta). While so many of my spoiled 15 and 16 year-old honors students were allowed to stay up until all hours for the duration of last week, our work on Pride and Prejudice continued apace. This was, of course, to the dismay of said spoiled children, especially when I determined - after realizing they did none of their reading last weekend - that from here on we would have a hard quiz at least every other day, on top of the rest of their work. The first quiz, (announced), took place on Tuesday, and yielded up three A's and 23 F's (two were absent). No lie. Thursday brought tne next quiz, which yielded up five A's, and a sprinkling of other grades across the spectrum.

So, who are the few making A's and obviously reading their books? Well, I'll highlight three of them. One was in my class last year, and is extremely intelligent, but comes from a poor, troubled family, and often misses school. She is a lot of fun to teach, but is almost completely anti-social with the rest of the crowd. The other two were not even in my honors class last year, but have stepped it up in a way many of the supposed honors kids haven't. One is a girl who, similarly, comes from a troubled, poorer family, but who does everything I ask without ever complaining, and is my leading candidate for my classroom award at this point. Yes, these two girls are nerdy and not real popular, which is what the glamour kids love to point out to me, as if it diminishes their accomplishments.

And then there is the third kid, another absolute gem. I'll call him Felipe, though that isn't his real name. Felipe was the best kid in my wildest freshman class last year. He is very intelligent, but shy, and I practically had to force him to move up to honors this year. He tore his ACL at the start of football season, and yet hasn't missed one practice or weight training session, helping the team out in any way he can. The football coaches rave about his attitude and character. When I can get him to speak, he speaks perfect English, so I'm assuming he is at least a second generation immigrant. But, he's the only person of hispanic heritage in the entire class. I don't think his family is poor, but they aren't rich, and I imagine he and his older brother will get back and forth to school via mom and dad until graduation.

So, here is a male, a football player, and possibly the first fluent English speaker in his family, and he is kicking ass on a novel about English gentry folk from 200 years ago. Ain't life, and literature, grand sometimes?

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