Current/Recent Reading List

26 August 2008

Best Quote Ever

From one of my honors students, in answer to a student info. sheet I give out at the beginning of the year:

Q: What are your strengths in English? What would you like to improve upon?

A: I'm good at reading and writing; grammar is a great weariness.

Yes, grammar is a great weariness, young lad. As are a number of other things...

In (not so) unrelated news, one of our new first year folks, fresh out of college, is basically sweet, and will probably be a very good teacher. However, she has to be taken in small doses at this point - way too much energy without enough direction. So, for the past eight days or so she has shared, every day, the fact that she currently dates a young man whose family is originally from a country we currently have troops in. And, this young man is devoted to a religion that, let's just say, has a controversial standing in post-911 America. Not only this, but because 10th grade in NC is devoted to World Lit., she has booked said boyfriend and his brother to come speak to 10th grade English classes next Wednesday and inform the kiddos all about said religion, pending approval from the principal.

Now, first of all, I'm not at a place in my unit plans where this is convenient yet (we'll read Persepolis later on), but to be a team player my classes will attend if the approval comes through. I would rather spend the time getting across the fundamental reading and writing practices in my classes that it takes a couple of weeks to establish. Second, I get the sneaking suspicion that there is a "let's educate the hick kids" mentality here. Third, even if these guys are absolute princes who have the best intentions of "bridging misunderstandings" (as I'm sure they are), what makes them expert enough to give such a talk, and how willing will they be to face questions about why many fellow Americans legitimately feel uneasy about their religion? Fourth, is this really, perhaps, just an outgrowth of overexuberant puppy love and a desire to show off Mr. Boyfriend (don't think they've been dating long)? Fifth, can someone get me Mark Steyn on the phone, and see if he can make the talk?


Phil said...

Let's stipulate for the sake of argument that said boyfriend isn't a Wahabbiist. What qualifications do he and his brother have to speak about Islam beyond being raised as Muslims?

Will they address the Sunni/Shiite conflict, discuss Wahabbiism, mention the influence of Sayid Qutb? I think I know what the probable answers to those questions are.

This smells a lot like the way Carolina's incoming freshmen were going to allegedly be educated about Islam the summer after 9/11 by being required to read a book of carefully selected Islamic poetry.

Of course, they left out the inconvenient suras like 2:191:

"Kill the unbelievers where ever you find them."

Or: "O believers, take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends of each other. Those of you who make them his friends is one of them. God does not guide an unjust people." - 5:54

Or one of my favorites:

"Make war on them until idolatry is no more and Allah's religion reigns supreme." - 8:39

Ah, the tolerance of the religion of peace.

School Master P said...

Yeah, and it turns out all the other English teachers pretty much agree this is too sudden, especially because we don't know enough about these guys. She's not even allowed to call him her "boyfriend" apparently (red flag! red flag!).

So, we're all going to tell her tomorrow we aren't ready to participate yet, and want to see how it goes with just her classes. Even if it goes well, I'm not sure why these guys are qualified speakers, exactly, beyond what you mentioned.

Phil said...

I haven't read anything new here in a couple of weeks, so I hope there wasn't a jihad at the school.

School Master P said...

No, just insanely busy, but thanks for checking in, Phil. Things actually worked out fairly well, and the guys actually said all the right things. I'll give an update in a post here in a few minutes.