Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Poll

Okay, so while I'm doing my planning for this year, I'm also working to make some changes in the amount of time I dedicate to work outside of my eight hour work day. One of the questions I face every fall is whether or not to continue teaching Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead or go back to teaching Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.

The Fountainhead-
Pros: I love this book from beginning to end. I love the characters and I could read it again and again. I also think that the book, irregardless of Rand's philosophy, has a lot to teach about conformity and how to measure success, which comes at a very important time for my students--the trimester before graduation.

Cons: It really is too much to fit into the trimester. I know that I overwhelm the kids with the reading, and only a few diehards actually read it all the way through.

Great Expectations-

Pros: The other teacher who teaches CP Lit teaches GE, which is good for consistency. I've taught it before, and teaching GE would mean spending less time out of class grading, planning discussions, etc.

Cons: I don't like the book. I've read it twice, and I'm just not a fan.

So, do I teach a book I don't like in order to save time? Or, do I teach the book I love that most kids don't read? I don't think many of them read GE either.

I don't know. So, help me out! Vote in the poll!


Jennifer said...

I was a geek in high school, so that's my bias...but, for what it's worth, The Fountainhead is something that I will never, ever forget. If I didn't read it all, it was because we didn't have enough time. And it brought me such interesting experiences, like the friend in college who said that the major relationship in the book was her model for all relationships and that the characters were her 'ideal' versions of people. (!!!)

Kelly said...

Okay, (A), that's damn freaky about your college friend. (B), yeah, that's totally what I'm talking about. I think that maybe reading part of it, exposing them to it through discussion even if they don't read it all (God knows I didn't read everything in high school or college), maybe that's enough??

Leah said...

When I was in high school, I read only the books I found interesting (and I'm a bookworm and was always in the enriched/honors courses), or grudgingly read the ones I didn't like. Books like the The Great Gatsby (I know so many loved it) or My Antonia were the worst books ever for me to read, but books that caught my attention, I read all the way through. True, most won't read through it all, but I think that you will come across that regardless of which book you choose, because of tehcnology, sparknotes, etc. I vote that you teach the one you like.

P.S. I'm not sure if I've commented before, but I've been following your blog for awhile now. I came across it through facebook (when a former student from your school died).

Kelly said...

Hey Leah!
That's kind of my thinking as well...I know it's impossible to hit everyone's interest whether they're readers or not.

Thanks for reading my blog!