Tag Archives: british literature

Thoughts on Lord of the Flies

Since the students I’ll be teaching in the fall are given summer reading assignments, the least I could do is read them, too, right?

I had read Lord of the Flies wayyyyy back in middle school or high school, so it was good to get a refresher on it.  Lots of great themes in the story: Independence, Order in Society, Human Nature, and so on.

I think a lot of these are quite relevant to today’s teenagers.  If it wasn’t completely against the rules to do so, I think it would be great to one day pretend to not show up to class and surreptitiously have a video camera somewhere in the room (simulating the boys on the island emerging from the plane crash).Image

After a few moments without adult supervision, I’d imagine a few students would probably get up and leave.  Others would sit there quietly.  And I bet one or two students would try to maintain some semblance of order by making sure the class was doing what they were supposed to be doing.

I doubt that the “society” of that unsupervised classroom would escalate to the violence, schisms and general chaos that occurred in the novel, but it would be interesting to see how quickly a culture of order (or disorder) would take foot in that room.

Next up: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.  I’ll let you know how it turns out!

The British are Coming (or at least their literature is)…

Every year, each teacher in our building awaits receiving word of their teaching assignments for the upcoming school year.  As a teacher of mainly electives throughout my career (Television Production and Journalism), I’ve been pretty set with what I’ll be teaching the following year.

However, in the past few years, fewer students have chosen to take electives.  Our district has allowed students the “incentive” of not taking a class first period and/or eighth period (our last scheduled class).  Conceivably, students can take 5 classes and a lunch and spend less than 4 hours in the classroom each day.

(quick aside): While I understand the financial reasons for the district doing this, aren’t we doing a disservice to the students’ futures by giving them the option to not attend school?  When students are filling out their course selections for the following year, it’s hard for a teacher of electives (TV, FCS, Music) to compete with the snooze button.

So that’s why I’m teaching British Literature this upcoming school year in addition to my television classes.

I’ve actually embraced this as both (a) a challenge to me as a teacher and (b) as an opportunity to get a fresh start.  I’ve been teaching for 7 years now, and while that’s far from a long time, it’s nice to kick the tires on a curriculum you haven’t taught yet.  The biggest challenge I foresee will be making British Literature relevant to my students.

So that’s my job this summer – learn that curriculum, find those themes that connect with the 17-18 year old crowd, and modernize them the best way possible.  This blog will attempt to show how I’m doing it and share some practices that worked (and those that didn’t, even though I hope that’s not the case too often!)