Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I was reading in one of my magazines about ways to garner media attention, specifically if you are an activist (which I only sometimes am). It said that if you are writing you must remember that your opinion is not news. News is when something happens, your opinion is just your personal take on a situation. (Mother Jones March '09) I guess I'm usually guilty of spewing my opinion, unless you count the things that happen in my life or in my classroom as news.

I've been teaching this book, Tears of a Tiger along with our special ed teacher. Its a very relevant book about a drunk driving accident in which the main character kills his best friend, and has to deal with the responsibility and depression that follows something difficult like that. It is told from many different perspectives and uses an African American main character along with typical teenager slang to draw students in.

Well, unlike many of the books and movies we experience this book does not have a happy ending. The main characters ends up committing suicide because he cant deal with the weight of the situation. It is very sad, but it is written in a responsible way, and should be taught in a responsible way.

In a conversation with the special ed teacher, she told me her concern with finishing the book. She thinks that we should skip the ending, because its too sad and too realistic for many of our students.

I feel very differently. I feel that we would give students a grave disservice if we didn't finish it. First of all kids need to finish books and feel that sense of accomplishment, but the other reality is that suicide, death, and depression are very real topics that many adolescents (and adults) deal with. Avoiding it in a story and censoring it is not the right thing to do.

So I'm curious what you think--Do you have an opinion? Should the ending be skipped? please comment and let me know what you think.

A little note: I will not be returning to my job next year, that is all I will publish here, if you want the scoop, email me.

From Scotts bday223

Shot of my buddy Scott and I

Now playing: Iron & Wine - Free Until They Cut Me Down
via FoxyTunes


  1. Skipping through life is not realistic. If we avoid topics because they are controversial, sad, or problematic we continue to perpetuate the status quo. Just because it's easier does not mean it is right. I've always believed that we learn when we are uncomfortable because we are reconciling change. It's scary and daunting, but also empowering. Don't skip the ending. Discuss it. Debate it. Develop from it.

  2. do the ending! i agree with the previous comment 100%. all of it. read it and discuss it. be real!