Sunday, July 17, 2011

Week Six Hours & Consequences of Reading


Well, that took some time. This week flew by with work on the house and other projects, and then it was Sunday. So I just took the liberty of reviewing the last two weeks and looking ahead to the rest of July.

It didn't surprise me, but I had a major lack of motivation this week towards anything school related. In the few hours I did have off from painting or mowing I sat and watched movies or went biking. July is usually my month off. I enter the summer with lots of momentum, slug through July, and pick up my steam again in August. It's my cycle, but I think it mirrors that of most other teachers...

Something I've been meaning to do for a while is to respond to some comments, so here are three for this week.

1) Ms. Howard asked me to speak on money spent by teachers on their own classrooms. I just recently purchased six copies of a Fahrenheit 451 graphic novel which were on fire sale at Borders. Our principal is very supportive of purchasing new texts, and has helped our department out immensely the past year. However, there are always more books to be had. My goal for the next year is to grow a classroom library full of some of my favorite works, or ones that are popular with the students. 

As a secondary teacher most of my purchases are tertiary to the classroom. I know elementary teachers often buy consumables like paper, glue, crayons etc. I get off much easier, as most of my supplies come down to tissues or candy. Last year we had a "Gatsby funeral," on the last day before winter break with sparkling cider, fruit, cheese, and the like. It was not a cheap trip to the store, but it was a fun way to end the year and the book.

Also, I believe the public is ignorant of the fact of continuing education for teachers, and that it's necessary for re-licensure. Graduate credits often run hundreds of dollars, and while some districts compensate the expense, not all do. I know my graduate degree will be $15,000 out of my pocket.

2) Gretchen mentioned The Hunger Games series which I'm aware of, but have not yet read. I love dystopic literature Gretchen! 1984 was the reason I studied literature. I base the last month of my British Literature course on dystopia, reading 1984 and Brave New World. I may add Lord of the Flies and A Clockwork Orange, but I'm not sure yet. We're opening this year's American Literature with Fahrenheit 451 to get their attention.

One of my favorite dystopic series is Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn. It's a graphic novel series that's mature, and probably not appropriate for a majority of high schoolers. However, it is an excellent examination of gender relations and a thought exercise of what the last man alive may experience.

Here's a list of works from Wikipedia:

3) Gus wrote from Saskatchewan detailed all of the attacks and reforms on the profession in Canada. It's saddened me to learn that the "reform" here in America is being seen globally. While I can understand the need for budget cuts, the amount of cuts directed at education and not other areas seem perplexing and frustrating. I don't remember teachers starting any wars they couldn't finish, or any teachers bundling bad loans and packaging them into retirement funds. 

In any case, thanks for spreading the word Gus!

That's it for this week. Look for photos and updates sporadically the rest of the month. Take some time off and relax everyone!


  1. Thanks for answering the mention and for answering my question about dystopian literature. I wrote a post about your mention of me and your blog over on my blog.

  2. I read both Lord of the Flies and A Clockwork Orange in High School. Disliked them tremendously but the stories have stayed with me. I could never relate well to male characters or the male experience in dystopian literature. The Hunger Games series should be read as a series. Each of the books delves deepter into politics and manipulation of the populace by the government. Another dystopian book with a female protagonist, but which does have mature themes, is The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. The themes in this book are more relevant today than when the book was published in 1986.

  3. Don't forget that some of us also buy food for our students when food service budgets are cut. I always have a supply of peanut butter, apple sauce cups, bread, crackers, granola bars and juice boxes. Many kids arrive to school without breakfast and sometimes they have not had dinner the previous night.