Current/Recent Reading List

14 November 2008

Forgive Me Father, I Have Sinned.

I did the unthinkable, the unmentionable this week: I quit on Shakespeare!

Well, sort of. You see, I've been doing The Tempest with my sophomores the last couple of years, to nice (if not resounding) success. No worries - I'm still doing it this semester. However, earlier this year, when putting together the final reading list for my honors class, I gave the smartie-pantses a vote on one reading. We could invest about $2.00 a piece and buy enough additional copies of Cyrano De Bergerac to do that, or add Othello to the list, with no need for a purchase to be made. The cheap-o's voted Othello, but frankly I was excited about this since it meant being able to do two Shakespeare's in a semester.

Well, I had forgotten that Othello was a much more difficult play, with much more dense and intricate language, and scenes that are long and less easily-digestable. Plus, we are at that point in the semester where kids' motivations are waning, and laziness has settled in like an epidemic. Things were not going well at all with the noble Moor, so after we slugged through Act III, I decided to pull the plug.

If it was just a matter of their laziness, I wouldn't have done it, but I was getting no interest or traction at all, except from about three exceptionally bright girls. A senior honors class would have been able to handle Othello better perhaps, but I'm not going to try it with sophomores again. Given the time left in the semester, and that I want to get in The Tempest and another novel, I made the tactical decision to withdraw from this battle in order to win the war.

And, I warned them, it will be war next week with The Tempest, a play even my standard English classes get through without scrapes. It's just that the honors crew will be responsible for a whole lot more... uh... enrichment activities to do.

Still, there is the guilt of letting ole Willie down, and at least one of the girls who was actually enjoying the play is angry because we quit. Oh, "The expense of spirit in a waste of shame!"

05 November 2008

Craziness Doesn't End At The Finish Line

Well, no the election did not go the way I wanted it to, but I already knew that was going to happen a while ago. And no, I'm not bitter, and certainly have high regard for the historical whopper of electing a black man as president (who also ran a much better campaign, frankly). Mostly, though, I'm just so freakin' relieved it is over with...

Alas, there were landmines to attend to at school today, where I've heard it all in the past few weeks. I knew today would be full of rude euphoria and full of bitter brooding, full of bad sportsmanship on both sides, so to speak. And yes, I suppose I anticipated the Crazy showing up as well. Just to give you a taste:

-Earlier in the day, apparently, 15 students had to be escorted to the principal because they almost got in a post-election fight in their class.

-Some black students were in the hall saying, in defiant tones, "Black people are gonna' be able to do anything we want to now!" On Monday, many of these same students were saying, quite seriously, they wouldn't leave the house the day after the election if Obama won, because they didn't want the "dogs being set on them!"

-I heard from more than one yearbook student how eerie it is when you compare Obama with what you read in Revelations. (I think it's eerie when you compare any human being, including yours truly, with Mrs. Turpin in Flannery O'Connor's Revelation and find so many similarities, but that's a different topic).

-Someone said their Mama remarked that "The morals in this country are really going to go downhill now." (Is there still lower ground to be found?).

Be careful out there folks. Human nature is still alive and well.