happy, happy day

Well, e-folks, my world just got a heck of a lot better.

Backstory: When I first started shadowing at new school, I discovered that most of the "good" books (i.e. books with literary merit,) were already checked out by the teachers.

I could either teach some random ghost-written-by-an-athletic-company "book" about a girls basketball team,* or, I could teach Rocket Boys, the memoir the film October Sky was based on.

October Sky is mildly entertaining, and Jake Gyllenhall is attractive, but Rocket Boys is crap.
I admire what Homer Hickman accomplished, but he's not a great writer, he rambles, and I was struggling to find passages that actually taught something. Anything. Theme? Character Development? Storytelling prowess?

Sigh. The only consistent theme revolves around the fact that Homer liked girls who wore tight sweaters. The only literary skill he revealed is an ability to make lame punish things, like "I wanted to dance with her, and then take her to the backseat of my car. I did and we did."

Eye roll.

Anyway, the point of the story is, that by some miracle, I discovered this morning that someone had checked in all the copies of To Kill A Mockingbird.

Blessed Heaven. I get to teach literature.

*Update: Basketball book is apparently title In these Girls, Hope is a Muscle.

Can you even imagine what my teenage students would have done with that title? Holy crap.


The Boob Nazi said...

I don't remember reading that book. I need to read it again. Yay literature.

Sarah E. Reynolds said...

Bah! I never got to read that book as a kid-- no teachers ever required it. I read it for the first time 2 summers ago and I melted into a puddle of happiness. You have very lucky students.

Lisa Louise said...

i'm so glad you got the books! Maybe i'll read along with your class ha ha!

AzĂșcar said...

My sarcasm is a muscle.

Lena said...

Are you going to let them watch the movie too? Cause I think they go hand in hand. At least the movie has merrit too. I'm still trying to convince Nik of the bennefits of the name Atticus.

NIKOL said...

I'm happy for you, and for your students. To Kill a Mockingbird is indeed awesome. Atticus Finch is probably my favorite character in all of literature.

Mrs. Clark said...

Yep, I can imagine exactly what your students would have done with that title. And congrats on nabbing To Kill a Mockingbird! One of my all-time favorite books!

Germaine said...

Hmmm. I think Rocket Boys is a fine memoir and certainly a work of considerable literary merit. The book is taught in my school and the students love it, even kids who claim to hate books. I like it, too. The part you chose to quote is somewhat insignificant. I think you should give Rocket Boys another look.

Stephanie said...

germaine, it is totally possible that rocket boys is a good learning tool, but not the best fit for me/my students.

whatever works!

Sharon said...

Ok, that settles it...I'm totally blog-stalking you now. I am currently reading To Kill a Mockingbird with my 9th grade honors classes. The depth and beauty of that book make it a joy to teach. It's my favorite.

Stephanie said...

sharon, ANYTIME you want to email me lesson plans/ideas that worked well for you, well, i would LOVE to hear from you.

we just started the book. i am always amazing at how lovely the language is. beautiful.

JRO said...

I am going to start this book in a couple of weeks. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do with it this year, but in the past I have used some lessons I got from some of my awesome colleagues/friends. Check out their websites as they have some downloadable documents and are always willing to share.

Rynell said...

I love reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Fabulous.

Julie said...

Love that book. Love that movie... (I'm totally NOT talking about To Kill a Mocking Bird!) And is it bad that I admire one of my sister's college professors for assigning "The Road" and "I am Legend" as reading assignments?!

JJ said...

This was the subject of a morning radio talk show on Friday (prompted by news of JD Salingers death). I was kind of floored by what parents said kids were reading in school and when. For example, by the end of 9th grade I had read The Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye (and Franny and Zoey, which I read on my own), Great Expectations, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Outsiders, Catch 22 (why we read this in 9th grade I will never know), and 1984 (with Animal Farm). And those are just the ones I remember were before high school.

Some of the people who called in had never read any of those books, and what they had read... well sounded as if it warranted little to no literary praise.

But my favorite caller was the one who called in and said her Mom had bought a DVD of the cartoon "Animal Farm" for her three year old, and both she and her Mom were floored that it was "not a nice cartoon" and the pigs were "just mean to each other". When the DJ said, "well you know is a description of communism" the caller said, in all seriousness, "what's that?"

Sorry for the long rant. I now appreciate my jr. high (and high school) reading experience much more.