Wednesday, August 7, 2013

No more "Mr. Kimble, I have to go to the bathroom."

I won't be teaching kindergarten like Ah-nold did in Kindergarten Cop, but I will be teaching this fall. Good old first year composition, the staple of any decent English graduate program. Yes, I'm nervous. I'm also very excited. I've been given a great opportunity and shall not squander it. I have less than two months to prepare. There is a lot of advice out there on what to do, what to wear, how to schmooze engage in the network. There is also a lot of advice telling people not to pursue advanced degrees, especially in the humanities. I read a good portion of it and made my choice.

Moving on. How does this apply to the topic of this blog? There are a number of items on the DO NOT DO list, and I can think of one which fits in here. Many of these apply to students younger than the college freshman I will be dealing with, but the message is similar.

Don't show 11 year olds SAW. (AKA Know your audience)
    This happened Some moron in Paris thought it would be a good idea to show his 11 year old students SAW. The school suspended him. While there are far too many things that kids learn at school and not from their parents, no kid should have their first horror movie experience at school. And really, who picks SAW to be anyone's first horror movie?

You'd think this would be obvious, but there are some not too bright people in the world. I'm sure I will make my own mistakes and sometimes forget that I'm talking to new adults who are as old as Toy Story, Braveheart, Apollo 13, Se7en, The Usual Suspects, Billy Madison, Casper, and Empire Records. (1995 was not a very good year for horror movies.There are some gems, but mostly stinkers.)

In my favor, I think, is that these are also kids who were two when the first Harry Potter book was released and six when the first movie came out. Somehow, I should be able to use that to my advantage. Yes, they are a generation of texters who've never lived in a world without the internet. But they are also (I hope, I hope, I hope) a generation of readers familiar with the fantastic. Not everything in English 101 is going to be mind blowing literature, I know. But I also know something else.

When I was a college freshman (although never an 18-year-old college freshman), my English 101 class read Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." Only a few stories equal as far as gateways into suspense go.

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