My grade ten English class is killing me. Softly. With this song:
“This is YOU Ms. Broadbent. You gotta watch this video.”
“Is it rude?”
“No. Honest. It’s you.”
“Are you being mean to me? Is this going to make me cry?”
“Just watch it. I promise; it’s good.”
They don’t realize that they do, indeed, sometimes make me cry.
“You’ll love it, it’s YOU!”
This, from a darling fifteen year old at the end of an especially trying class where I was, apparently, freaking out about cell phones and technology. Again.
Freaking out, to these we prodigies, sounds something like this:
Me: Give me your cell phone.
Ok, maybe my eyes bug out a little. Maybe my voice gets a little shrill. Maybe I threaten to hurl the offending object against a wall and then take the shattered shards and scatter them throughout the seventh ring of hell.
Maybe that happens sometimes.
But I definitely do not freak out.
I can feel it coming, though.
There are thirty-two kids in my English 10 class, and they are adorable. They are eagerly awaiting the onset of fishing season. They are writing their beginner’s driving tests. They are watching Harlem Shake videos on their phones.
They are not reading.
Yes, sadly, I chose to teach The Giver this semester, because I haven’t taught grade 10 English for several years, and The Giver is the tried and true grade 10 text for our area. Innocent little Jonas takes off his shirt so the old man can lay his hands on him to transmit the memories… gasp. Pedophile.
“Couldn’t he just text him the memories?”
I didn’t see this coming. Neither, I’m sure, did Lois Lowry. Cell phones didn’t exist when Lois wrote “The Giver”.
And no one gets the symbolism of the sled.
“Give me your cell phone.”
“Yeah. Just a minute.” Text, text, text.
“No, I mean right now. You are supposed to be discussing the symbolism of the sled with your group.”
“I didn’t read the part about the sled.”
“I know. That’s why the group discussion will help you. Give me your cell phone.”
“Just a minute.”
This is about the time that my eyes start to bug out. I am very attractive with buggy eyeballs, and I highly recommend it as a cheaper alternative to botox. Teachers can’t afford botox. Which I probably need since my students apparently think I have some freakish kinship with a bearded and cranky elder from Tennessee.
Duck Dynasty guy. Oddly enough, Phil Robertson bears an eerie resemblance to the guy on the cover of The Giver. Symbolic? A metaphor for our times? What?
Disclaimer: I have no idea if this guy is from Tennessee or not. It’s a random choice, made by me, because my grade 10 English students have exhausted me and I no longer have the energy to check my references. Tennessee? Kentucky? Mill Village, Nova Scotia? Who cares? I’m ugly and old and can’t relate to their world, I think that’s the ultimate message here. I have facial hair? Is that what they’re trying to say? I get it. (Just googled… Louisiana. He’s from Louisiana. TGFG. Thank God for Google.)
Duck Dynasty is a fascinating story of a family rising from rags to riches by capitalizing on their passion, their skill, and the media. My understanding of the Duck Dynasty phenomenon is thus…
Old guy makes ducks calls, hits rock bottom, family rallies and through the interventions of intelligence, Jesus, A&E, and a brilliant marketing team, they have managed to capture the imaginations of most of North America, including 2/3 of my English 10 classroom.
This is a lesson plan in the making. This makes sense to them.
The Giver? “Whaddafuck?”
Duck Commander? “Oh yeah, they’re awesome! You gotta watch this video, Ms B!”
Is there symbolism to the beards?
I’m sure there is.
Shut it down. Turn it off. Mmm Hmm. There ya go.
If only it was so easy.
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