It shouldn’t be surprising, but I’m always surprised when students really get involved in class because of the content. There have been a few tough days with Romeo & Juliet, but yesterday’s class with act three kept them interested. Act three starts with a good old-fashioned brawl and death. The scene was long, but they really seemed to be able to picture how the characters felt as they battled back and forth and avenged each other. Students were commenting and trying to piece together the lines as we discussed them. I even convinced one of the students to read angrily as Romeo confronted Tybalt.
With my other class, we were looking at Catch Me If You Can, and I thought some of the technical ideas about paperhanging would get repetitive, but some of them were really curious and impressed at how Frank came up with all his schemes. I just hope that they weren’t taking notes for future occupational reference.
Half the battle with any English class is trying to get them interested in what we’re studying. It is hard to anticipate how students today will react to texts. I worry about whether or not they will get into a text. I’m not that concerned if they like or dislike the texts as long as they can work with the text and value or discern some message from it. As a new teacher, I can’t rely on a library of texts that I’ve come across through years of teaching, but I don’t know if I really want to rely on the same text year after year anyway.