As many of you know, we are in the process of waiting for baby #2 to arrive and as I’m quite certain I’m going to have my hands full with a newborn and a two and a half year old, I visited my hairdresser yesterday for a pre-baby trim. I really enjoy chatting with my hairdresser as she leads a very different life from me and always makes me think. 

She knows I’m a teacher and was asking me my impression of students. She told me that she doesn’t feel students are really any different today than they were when we were in high school (she’s around my age) as she said she was the kind of student who hated school and took it out on her teachers. We talked about how for many students they don’t see the relevance of school curriculum and I suggested that I share her views especially when it comes to English class. So it makes me wonder…

Are we doing a disservice to students like her who aren’t interested in reading what we want them to read? She is extremely knowledgeable in her field and it’s more than obvious she spends time reading about the best products for hair, how to be environmentally-friendly (the salon prides itself on being eco-friendly by using phosphate and sulfate free products) and discovering new techniques in her field. Knowing what we teach in our senior level English classes, how are we preparing our students for fields such as this? (other than through the high skills majors programs) I really believe there must be a way that we can allow our students to examine and read material they are interested in while still teaching the skills necessary for success in their futures (critical thinking especially). 

I think it’s going to take many, many, many conversations about the value of units such as whole class novels, short stories, and Shakespeare but I think some day we will see English class evolve into so much more as the possibilities are endless.

Just my thinking on this Wednesday morning…

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One thought on “Wednesday Musings…

  1. I am not sure that all we should do in English class is prepare students for jobs or careers. Literature might be the last, best character education available to all that is left. We read to learn, we read to be entertained, and we read to know we are not alone, that we belong, that someone else has felt this or done this before. I teach across the ability levels this year: at risk sophomores (6th grade reading level) through AP Lit. Everyone yearns for story. A balance of story and more “practical” texts is useful, but they always want story. Maybe it does not matter what we read to practice problem solving and critical thinking, but it does matter that we see our human connections, that we enjoy stories that remind us we are not alone.

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