<-- a little Photoshop fun
A few weeks ago, I kindof decided that I wouldn't be following the CAHSEE curriculum as closely as I had been told to do. Aside from scoffing at the idea of teaching to a standardized test, I also found that there was no way I could conduct or control a class if the kids were lambasted with boring-state-mandated materials.
So I started peeling short stories from my previous years teaching and from my college readings that left an impression on me. We read "Lamb to the Slaughter" about a woman who kills her husband with a lamb leg, "The somebody" about a kid from east LA who finds that tagging his name all over his neighborhood made him feel like a somebody, and now we are reading, "Greasy Lake." I've been choosing these stories for their themes and connectedness to my students.
While reading, "Greasy Lake" to them, while describing a brutal fight, drug exploration, and a potential rape scene, I began to question myself. I don'd like censorship, and I like hard-hitting stories that really get my students into them and that they can relate to, but I wonder, even with deep discussion and analysis--will they really get the positive messages out of the stories?
I cound read to the class for 45 minutes and the F bomb or "marijuana" would be mentioned once and they wouldnt be able to tell me anything about the story except that the main character smoked pot.
I believe in challenging the traditional notions of the classroom but I also want to support the understanding of difficult situations in literature and life and I may not be always getting through. I guess all I can do is try.