This year has been one of many trials and tribulations. There have been times when I don’t know if I’m going to make it, and other times that I just want to cross my arms, give up, and pout. But I know that if I don’t go through that, then the cool things won’t be as cool.
Monday morning was our first day back from our Spring Break. Our tutoring time has basically turned into TAKS prep time for our homeroom students. This is a waste of time for my homeroom because they’re the Pre-AP bunch that has consistently done well on the exams. I’ve grown tired of bucking the system on this, so I’ve given in for the time being. Anyway, that morning, one of my students walks in and asks where she can put a tri-fold poster board. Even though my class is cluttered and overrun with student desks, my kids always ask me to hold stuff because I’m one of the few that will, I’m on the way out of the building, and I’m always there after school. So I didn’t think much of it. Later, curiosity got the best of me, so I opened up the tri-fold poster board.
Upon opening, I discovered Shakespeare information. This kid had gone home during the break and on her own, looked up more information, and put together this poster board and made it look “preeety.” I was shocked and honored. See, before the break, my students had done some research on Shakespeare’s life and times. Then we’d read some adaptations of King Lear, Twelfth Night, and Othello. The kids had really gotten into it. They were upset when the bell rang on Friday before we left for Spring Break because “it was just getting good!”
We finally finished reading Othello yesterday. We had such cool conversations about who was the real villain, what the characters could have done differently, what kind of injustices exist in our times and how they are similar to Shakespeare’s.
I shared this with the people at my training today, and one lady couldn’t believe I had gotten 7th graders so interested in Shakespeare. Then, when she thought I wasn’t hearing, she dismissed the idea of teaching this because she “woudn’t want to step on any toes,” meaning that Shakespeare should be reserved for high school. Well, that’s her opinion. In the meantime, I will continue conning my kids into learning things they might otherwise hate because someone may not take the time to draw them in.