25 January 2015

Goodbye to Shakespeare

   I have had just about enough Elizabethan life for this year: our new schedule did not jive with my personal schedule, so I feel as if it has gone on forever. I am betting the students do too. This year was Macbeth, Lear and Othello. I am not sure how it went: I totally changed my approach to all three. For Macbeth, I focused on performance skills, but we have not been able to perform much because of schedule constraints. The best parts of Lear got swallowed up by Christmas break and midterms, so I am having trouble picking up the pieces. And in my first time with Othello, I decided to let the students be in charge. I think they enjoyed and learned, but of course this old read-write learner did not get her time in the sun as an expert. So I am recalibrating how I judge the unit.
   What is sticking with me this winter? I am chafing at the chains that come when I hold the control. My Macbeth classes do not happen to be filled with readers, so practicing the skills has been frustrating. Much of the end of the quarter was taken up by the kids who elected to "spark" Macbeth (and their personal reading too), and ending up cheating as a result. So I am sad that they did not give themselves a chance to level up their reading, and irritated that I spent my time on them instead of the students who came with me on the Shakespeare journey. But--sometimes those failures are the ones that provoke learning. Only time will tell.
   Lear was more satisfying, but we have not acted, and I don't want to let it go! At the same time, I can't wait for them to read Donne. This group will LOVE him. So I must navigate a quick ending and a new beginning for this week--during Catholic Schools Week. Argh. Othello was good with AP Lit; they appreciated and thought and analyzed. But I will have to get used to feeling good about their success instead of directing them. Old teacher, new methods. Growing pains.

No comments: