Discovering the Relevance of Words
My students don’t farm, so Of Mice and Men seems like a terrible choice for most of them. There are some students who will understand, and maybe even appreciate, the bond between George and Lenny, but for the most part, they don’t farm, so they don’t care. The book feels old to them, and slow to them, so they check out. Frankly, I don’t farm either, so it seems old to me as well.
Don’t get me wrong, the fact that a book is old does not automatically make it slow, or boring, or bad. But, it does sometimes make it too out-of-place for a teenager in today’s world.
I’m in my 10th year of teaching, and I’ve found that my students are needing more and more modern texts. I’ve spent so much time focused on reading the classics, or a few more modern authors that appeal to me, that I have had to challenge myself to expand my palate in order to reach my students. It’s actually made teaching a bit more exciting to me lately, and nothing beats hearing a student tell you that their favorite unit was one that involved an Allie Brosh short story that was just released a few months ago. New material feels new, and is therefore exciting.
There are so many classics out there, but the students need something to grab their attention before we can push Steinbeck in their faces.
Question of the Day:
When Do The Classics Just Become Old?