Friday, February 26, 2010

And I said, "Hey, WHAT'S GOING ON?!"

One of my hubcaps fell off! My mittens that I bought only a couple months ago are falling apart! A book that I ordered for my class to teach Othello hasn't come yet! Well I think it did yesterday but the office has informed me that UPS took it back with them today. WTF?! Just because I couldn't get home in time last night, does not mean I don't live here anymore. P.S. don't leave a note on my mailbox saying that you left the package in the office and then still take it with you. It just makes everyone look like an idiot.

Okay, I'm better now.

I'm a little disappointed on the movie front when it comes to a companion piece for the play Othello. My original plan was to show O before we would read the scene. Then I realized, I'd have lost my job three times in the first 10 minutes of the movie. I tried the Laurence Fischburne version but the acting sucks. Mainly because Kenneth Branagh is about as animated as a piece of pine. I don't think this version would add much comprehension, despite how true it is to the play. It seems as though I'm going to be going with the Laurence Olivier version. While older, the acting is far superior. I feel a little icky about showing a movie about a black man, played by a white guy in brown makeup. But I just felt like the acting and understanding of the language was just so much better and I think more helpful than the others. I wish there was a modern adaptation of Othello with the original language, like Romeo + Juliet and Hamlet. So, I'm sorry kids, but we will be watching a rather racist interpretation (though more close to the way it would have been performed at the Globe) of Othello. Please don't hate me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Of course! I HAD to teach Shakespeare

Tomorrow we start our unit on Othello. I bought a new copy of the play, namely because my Norton complete works will not fit on my scanner properly. The version I got, a Barnes and Noble edition, is actually pretty decent. I was skeptical when I was ordering it. But at the beginning of each scene it has a vocab list and the print is not microscopic. The latter part may be of more importance to me than the students. I also bought the No Fear Shakespeare edition to Othello. I need to check my mailbox to see if it's come yet. This book will help the kids. And me. The first section they read of the play will be overwhelming for them. It was for me. The language is difficult to get into. This second book puts the entire play in plain English and I think will be helpful to me and my students.

This last Saturday I was feeling a bit under the weather. So I stayed in bed. Until about 4:30. Then I went to support a friend who assistant coaches a dance team. Anyway, Saturday. I watched a four hour documentary of Shakespeare on Netflix' instant watching thing. THAT'S HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU, KIDS!!!! I'm not a huge Shakespeare fan. I don't think he's the greatest poet ever. In fact, in the recent past I may have compared him to Mozart's work ("You've heard one, you've heard them all"). I am terrible. I strongly disagree with my literary and education contemporaries. But the documentary was actually pretty cool. It answered a lot of myths and unanswered questions.

So why am I teaching it? Honestly I'm not sure now. And maybe this is the fear that I will fail my students miserably. But I don't think it's important to read in the sense of knowledge and whatever. I think it's important culturally though. I feel like so many things reference Shakespeare that it's important for them to know where it came from. That's right, I am teaching them useless information so they can have the glory and satisfaction of one day being at a party in which someone will misquote Shakespeare and one of my students will correct them. That is my dream.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The start of class and a new blog

I decided it was time to start over. I was tired of my last blog and am working on setting this one up. I felt it was unfair for my students to write in their blog three times each week, so I decided I would too. Mostly I will respond to the assignment questions on my class website (which you can find by looking at my profile).

I'm not sure what made me want to start over. But I think part of the reason I wasn't publishing much was because I just wasn't that blog anymore. I'm someplace else. At least this is what I will say is the cause of not publishing.

I'm excited about my advanced lit./comp. class. I finally have a way of really helping the students definitely bound for college. I hope they like it too. Not only is this an exciting class for me to teach (I don't think I've ever taught a college prep. class), but it's also got the material I'm more interested in. I love my British literature and I love my history. Sorry, kids.

Anyway, cheers to a new beginning for myself, my class, and my blog!