Broaken: the way this English teacher spelled broken on the white board this week. Embarassing? Not really. Yes, but no. I am almost incapable of being embarrassed anymore. But yeah, very embarrasing for an English teacher. It happens on occasion. Here is the deal. I am a visual learner and learned to spell by reading. So now that I am a teacher I read all sorts of awful spelling and I absorb a little bit of it on occassion - but just momentarily. I catch myself, but gosh knows what my spelling will be like in 30 years! Here is an example of what I read this week while reading student journals. Look at all of the creative spellings this one 10th grade student had for the word Journal:
Save me now. i think I need a new job before the kids think spelling is not important because even their English teacher cannot spell (only on occassion, but always when I am on the spot!)
"All-in-all this is a very good book and should be on the top 100 books to read before you die. So learn that this book should be cherished by all, with a blanket by a fire and a nice big glass of apple juice."
The Crucible by Arthur Miller is one of my all-time favorite pieces of literature. I read it every year with my 11th grade students. I talk it up by mentioning that it is (and it is) on the 10 ten banned book list for public schools. It is banned because of sexual reference, swearing, religion, witchcraft, murder, hatred, slavery, and disturbing content.
After we finish the play I have them write persuasive essays about why the work has merit and should be read. I recieve arguments about how we learn repentance, forgivenss, about peer pressure, pride, to listen, about our history, the early court system, self-worth, integrity, and my favorite, redemption. But if those reasons alone cannot get you to read the book here are a few of my favorite arugments from my students:
"What comes to mind when you think of a great American love story, with withcraft, murder, crappy court hearings, and real jerks? That's right, one of the greatest books in America. No, not Harry Potter, The Crucible you crazy. Now pay attention, this could change your life: 'This book should be read in class,' said Chuck Norris of The Total Gym Commercial." (Male student)
"If I had my choice I would read this book again; I would totally go for it. It was a good book and made me almost cry. The passionate kiss at the end was among the top three most passionate kissess ever in my book." (This from a boy!)
"This book should be read by everyone because it shows that, I know it's hard to believe, but there are some bad people out there. Also is shows there are a also a lot of good people that are willing to die to save others. And last but not least it shows us discipline. "You will keep your seat." (84) And sticking your neck out could get it cut off." (Need I say it again?)
Anyway - sometimes grading student papers is not boring, and sometimes we welcome these responses only because they make us pause to laugh out loud in the middle of a public place.
My pitch for reading the book is that it forces you to take a look inside yourself and ask yourself if you believe in yourself, in your name, in forgiveness of self and others, and in redemption. You cannot read this book and not be changed.