I have always both as a parent and as a teacher, felt it was my job to expose my kids/my students to as many different things as possible. I guess so they would be able to make choices based on at least some experience rather than just being thrown into a choice. The exciting news is that in doing this, I have been exposed to things to which I might never have been exposed as well.
I have just finished reading my first Sherlock Holmes novel as part of a reading unit at school. I'm relatively sure I've read one in the past but when or which one escapes me. As part of the same unit I am now reading Agatha Christie. I have read several of her novels recently, but this is a new one. To travel with a master as she unfolds a masterpiece and be able to share all of those wonderful techniques with inexperienced readers is truly a joy.
I'm excited about these books and try to share my excitement with my students, who sadly don't see any reason to read at all and are perfectly happy believing Robert Downey, Jr.'s portrayal of Sherlock instead of Jeremy Brett's, or Sir Basil Rathbone's.
With another class I am re-reading "The Giver," a book which never fails to amaze me. My students are amazed as well, and I love discussing it with them and having them predict where the story is going and watching their surprised faces as they discover what the author has in mind. They are going to make a movie of it as well and many of the kids are skeptical, having already experienced what Hollywood can do to a favorite novel.
In yet another class I have the students read and summarize (as well as think about) informational text which is huge in the new standards. It's hard for them despite the fact that my selections come right out of the newspaper.
Recently, we read an article about archeologists finding 20,000-year-old pottery in China. Amazing in itself, but even more amazing when we read on to discover that all the experts thought that pottery was first made about 10,000 years ago. We discussed the implications and they were carried away by them, not to mention connecting to information gleaned from another teacher and from their parents!
The most amazing thing of all is when the Pre-Algebra students discover there are actually times they will use this math in the future; that it is not simply torture perpetrated on them by cruel, unfeeling adults. That there are reasons for coming to school other than PE and lunch.
Teaching is interesting every day. Especially with the student expressing how hard it is to behave and why teachers don't believe he is trying. Or the kid who puts in one serious hour of work a day and believes that it is enough and that video games are all that is really important, anyway. Or the student who didn't believe me when I said, write the novella but don't go back and read it until it is finished - you'll hate it. She went back and read the first few chapters and hated it and is now stuck.
Can't say I'm bored.
Anne Marshall is an East Valley parent and teacher.