Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Student Teacher, Part 8

"OK, imagine that all of you in this class are on a school trip, a really big school trip to a place far enough away that you have to fly," I told my kids when we were finally done with "Great Expectations."
"You're flying over the ocean, and something goes wrong and the plane has to crash land on an uninhabited tropical island, and the pilots – the only adults with you – are killed, but all of you survive. No one will be coming to rescue you, because world war has broken out. It's just you kids, no one else, on this island. How do you think it would go?"

The discussion that followed was lively, even raucous, at least in the "slow" class. The smart class was more restrained, less impulsive, more inclined to consider the inconveniences of such a situation.
And then I told them that this was what their next book – "Lord of the Flies," by William Golding – was about, except that all the marooned kids are boys. Then I made them read the first chapter in class.
"It gets even better," I told them before the bell. "I guarantee that you will love reading this book."

They did, for the most part. There is no easier book to force into the heads of teenagers than "Lord of the Flies," especially if you can get them to recognize the similarities between what is happening on the island and what is happening in their school, and maybe even in their country.
Toward the end of the unit, I had Russell Karp leading the class in a chorus of "Kill the pig! Spill his blood!" Hearing this commotion, the principal called me out into the hall and asked me what the hell was going on.

"Lord of the Flies" was fun, and made teaching seem not so bad after all. But the next and final unit of the year seemed sure to throw my internship into reverse: British poetry.

1 comment:

Ellipses said...

Dude! Brit Poe is the shizzle!

I have my fingers crossed that it wasn't contemporary English translation :-)