This is one of those times where I really want an evil twin.
OK. Maybe just a clone. Or a stunt double. Basically, someone who can help me be in two places at once.
I want to keep being a mechanic, but sometimes the siren song of my past life as an English major wafts into my head and I want to drop my tools and go teach high school. Middle school would be OK too but the basic gist is that I have ideas for lesson plans to meet students where they are and help them get to the point where literacy is relevant.
I want to teach literary analysis using this post from Into The Garbage Chute, Flyboy:
it’s kinda cool how our generation has created actual tone in the way we write online. like whether we: write properly with perfect grammar, shrthnd everythin, use capitals to emphasise The Point, use extra letters or characters for emotion!!!!!, and much more – it means we can have casual conversations, effectively make jokes using things like sarcasm that’s usually hard to understand without context and much more. this “incorrect English” has really opened avenues of online conversation that isn’t accessible with “correct English” which is pretty interesting
#this is why attempts by the media to portray online communication by “’‘millenials”“ really frustrate me #because there are Rules okay #like see that’s different to saying ’’there are rules” (tags via @soaringsparrows)
My class and I literally taught some of the nuances of this to our english teacher, things such as the difference between “yes” and “yes.” or “..” and “…”. It makes perfect sense linguistically that we would create this complexity to ease communication in a medium without body language and tone, but what my teacher was really floored about was that none of this had ever “learned” it, we’re “native speakers” of a whole new type of english.
That’s how you make Shakespeare and Chaucer relevant to teenagers. You take wooden and difficult dialog that doesn’t work as standalone text and you get students to interpret it into language that they understand.
Give me Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy as a tweet post. Take the relevant bits and distill it down to it’s most important parts. Take Chaucer’s old English and put it into an online exchange…except maybe not the “The Miller’s Tale” because, you know. Innuendo.
My birthday was last month and I’m 10 years removed from the idealistic graduate who had her heart dead-set on being a reporter. Friends asked me why I wasn’t going to graduate school. Why I was picking up and moving to Georgia for a job at a suburban newspaper in a town where I knew nothing of the local landscape.
Being a reporter made sense. It’s what I’d wanted to do since the sixth grade. Georgia just gave me the chance to try that out and learn instead that the integrity and quality of the leaders I work for holds more value to me than a paycheck at my dream job. Tough life lesson, but one I needed.
That, and it seemed as though the only option for me in graduate school would be to teach.
At 22, I wasn’t ready to teach. I didn’t think I’d have anything to say to a room full of teenagers. I still don’t know if I do, but the ideas are percolating for how I’d actually be able to fill nine months of lesson plans.
Lesson Plan Ideas
- Native speech and text analysis — see above.
- Resume writing and why spelling counts — Reason one, people just need resumes. Reason two, it would be valuable to have my sister (a biologist who is involved in hiring decisions) or my derby friend Jude E. Boom (an HR professional with gorgeous tattoos) serve as guest speakers to discuss the merits of a well-crafted resume and how their activities and choices in school matter more than students think.
- Novel soundtrack — This one would be for required reading books but would work with talking about story arcs and plot development too. Give me the playlist of “To Kill A Mockingbird.” What song shows Scout early in the book? How about the courtroom scene?
It’s not much and it’s hardly something I can use to justify pursuing a master’s in education, but it’s a start.