Posts tagged “teaching

June, July, August

Posted on June 9, 2014

Summer is here! I’m basking in the glow of few responsibilities and playoff basketball. In the popular vernacular, I “survived” my first year of teaching. If you have friends on Facebook who are similar to the friends I have on Facebook, you might have seen them post THIS specious “news” article about a Chinese miner who supposedly survived 17 years buried underground, surviving on a diet of rice and rats and painstakingly burying 78 of his colleagues, only to be rediscovered and escape his subterranean purgatory. Well, the story is a hoax (check your sources, students), but the experience of reemerging into the daylight of human civilization is similar to how I feel. I have time to read for pleasure? I can pursue hobbies…

Stuff English Teachers Like

Posted on January 6, 2014

I made this (or some version of this) into a video which I will embed below.  Sorry for being an insufferable ham.

 
 

 

Calling Movies “Films”

English teachers love calling movies “films.”  The word “movie” is too low-brow.  Heck, even the word “word” is too low-brow (we prefer term).  But seriously, calling something a “film” elevates it to a position of high art, distinguishing it from the baser forms of “entertainment” (I’m looking at you, Toddlers and Tiaras).  Plus, if you’re an English teacher, you never go to “the movies”–you go to “the cinema.”

Irony

English teachers (and hipsters) REALLY seem to like irony.  We can spot it from a mile away, and when our irony radar is piqued, we get a knowing, half-smile on our face, as if to suggest, “yeah, I get why the actual meaning of this and/or these events is not the same as what is being portrayed and/or expressed and is therefore ironic.”  Unlike hipsters, however, English teachers never plan their Halloween costumes around irony.  We would never, for instance, dress as a plunging stock market graph and say we were Miley Cyrus’ net worth after her performance at the VMA’s.  Nah.  There are too many awesome characters from literature to dress up as.

The Slash

That old time punctuational equivalent of the comparatively cumbersome “or,” the slash, is a favorite amongst English teachers.  (Side note: using amongst instead of among = an English teacherism.)  The slash lets English teachers pepper in choice into an otherwise straightforward sentence.  I want to be able to choose my favorite adjectives, adverbs, and conjunctions, just like I want to choose my favorite cereal at the grocery store–a tossup between Honey Nut Cheerios/Oatmeal Squares/Kashi/Frosted Mini-Wheats.

Going to Starbucks and Bringing Only a Book

In this age of hyperconnected Insta-facing and Snap-clapping, bringing a book (and only a book) to Starbucks seems downright suspicious.  Yes, I see you over there tweeting from behind your venti double shot of expresso seasonal latte about the weirdo with the book.  I am READING.  Deal with it.

Making Lists and Being Self-Referential

This article an example of a list.  The fact that I’m including “making lists” into a list is an example of being self-referential.  But seriously, English teaches like making all kinds of list, not just to-do lists.  Yesterday, I made a list of the top-five sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.  A little over a week ago, I made a list of potential jobs that I am qualified for besides teaching English.  It was a very short list.

Unconventional Fashion Choices

English teachers don’t have a monopoly on dapper dressing, but strange patterns and sartorial frippery seem to show up on English teachers like lichens on the northern side of tree trunks.  We’re like birds of paradise (to adopt another nature simile), parading around in multihued splendor while making weird sounds and bizarre gestures.  But really, we do it all for your benefit, dear students.  Earth tones are boring, and we don’t want you losing interest in all the knowledge we have to impart; we clash because we care.

The Late-Summer, Low-Humidity, Rapidly-Approaching-Fall Daze

Posted on July 26, 2013

So . . . YAY!  I have procured a fulltime, bonafide, virtually ideal teaching position!  By starting this entry with good news, then segueing into a pseudo-apology for my lack of attention to this blog (all the while implying that the reasons for my absence were understandable and even laudable, given that I was engaged in an epic job search which consumed my every waking moment), I hope to deflect, pacify, and ameliorate any harsh feelings that you, the casual–and perhaps imaginary–reader, might have toward me.  So, sorry for not writing.  But YAY! I will be teaching 11th and 12th grade English next year at a small, co-ed Catholic school.  Terror, excitement, and a deep-seated fear of proving inadequate sum up my emotional state.…

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Posted on May 8, 2013

I’m fresh off a stint of long-term substituting for a 7th/8th grade English class, and boy am I eager to get back into the classroom.  It has only been two days since I handed the reigns back to the teacher I was covering for (out on maternity leave), but I already miss the curious and enthusiastic minds I had the privilege of teaching.  So I’m doubling down on the application bonanza that is my life and searching (high, low, and in-between) for a full-time teaching job. But before I resume résumé-ing or continuing my coverage of cover letters, I though I’d take a moment and share with you all a fantastic book.  How I went through my childhood, teenage-hood, and young-adult-hood without once cracking the…

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Posted on February 7, 2013

Let’s keep this “old-made-new book review” ball rolling.  There’s a definite “academic” edge to all these old grad school papers–an unavoidable result of their being written with a different audience in mind.  I liken the impression you’re left with after reading someone’s school papers to a metallic aftertaste: it masks authorial voice through affected use of whiz-bang vocabulary.  I hope my “academese” doesn’t decrease your enjoyment of these.  (If you didn’t to begin with, please read the preceding as a sing-songy rhyme).  Next up–Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Review One of the hardest things in writing to define is the property of “voice.” The other building blocks of writing–be it grammar, form, or even metaphorical language–all operate on well-defined formulas that…

Lady Macbeth’s Daughter by Lisa Klein

Posted on February 6, 2013

I recently stumbled upon backlog of YA book reviews and accompanying teaching ideas that I compiled for a Young Adult Fiction class.  I’ll occasionally include some of them on this blog to spice things up.  Feel free to steal/alter/transmogrify any of my teaching ideas.  First Up–Lady Macbeth‘s Daughter. Review Lady Macbeth’s Daughter is an example of how the highest level of Bloom’s taxonomy of the cognitive domain of learning—synthesis—is best applied to the understanding and creation of literature. In the book, Lisa Klein imagines a vivid back-story to Shakespeare’s Macbeth. She both allows the reader insight into the motivations and interior psychological processes of the characters, and creatively weaves new characters into the framework of Shakespeare’s play. By doing so, she deepens our understanding…

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Posted on February 5, 2013

I first saw the film, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, when I was in high school.  Say what you will about its faults (the actors were melodramatic, at times poorly dubbed, and frequently defied the laws of physics), but its philosophical treatment of martial arts and ill-fated love warmed the cockles of my adolescent heart.  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, is probably best described as an epic tale of adventure and love, but it borrows from numerous film genres: ethnography, action movie, fable, etc.  While its cinematography is nothing short of breath-taking, I would characterize director Ang Lee’s overall style as “soothingly sumptuous.”  The fight scenes–full of aerial gymnastics and frenetic drums–are counterbalanced by peaceful conversations passing between Master Li Mu Bai (played by Chow Yun-Fat)…