So, the end of the semester is upon us…and man, did it fly by! This will be my final post on this blog and my last chance to wrap up my thoughts about short stories and novels depicting teachers, as well as any other thoughts I have about this course as a whole.
This semester, I definitely became more acquainted with short stories, obviously focusing on teachers and education. Short stories as a whole tend to stray from the usual or the expected to make an interesting plot, these being no exception. Every short story we encountered this semester somehow strayed from our typical perception of teachers. Students often assume that teachers act as they do in the classroom all the time, which is obviously not the case. We often forget that teachers are human, do make mistakes, and have a life outside of the classroom. Students so quickly allow issues outside of the classroom affect their performance inside of the class, but teachers are not allowed to do the same. That is, without some kind of consequence… which is what these short stories often illustrate. We saw a wide range of atypical situations involving teachers, from lying and infidelity all the way to murder (not the brightest way to the end the class!)
Even so, there really was not a short story that I didn’t like. I came away from reading every single one learning something unique. If I had to choose, I would say I definitely think you should keep “Dominion Over Erry Everything”, “Nine Inches”, “Grade My Teacher”, and “The Wolf and the Wild”. If you did have to take one out, my least favorite was probably “The Tutor” By Neil Freudenberger. I think I liked this story least because I did not find any character in the whole story likable. I really found it frustrating when Zubin wrote his student’s college admissions essay for her, rather than helping her write it, regardless of his reason for doing so. Also, it was a bit lengthy and I thought it talked too much about background story.
Looking back, Ms. Hempel was probably my favorite piece that we looked at this year. Each one of her short stories were unique enough that they could be examined separately, yet were coherent enough to be united as a novel. I think the reason I am attracted to that novel is because I am going into education, and she spends a great deal of time talking about her classroom, students, and teaching tactics. I admire how great of a teacher she was, even though she ends up leaving the profession in the end. A Lesson Before Dying was definitely a close second. I literally could not put that book down. It was am extremely powerful novel, but in terms of the actual teaching that occurred in the novel, Ms. Hempel Chronicles resonated better with me.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this class. Since I am going into elementary education, concentrating on language arts, this was really a perfect class for me. I think I grew in both my critical thinking skills and my furthered my skills as a writer. I am not only walking away with a great deal of knowledge about not only how teachers tend to be depicted in literature, but also bettered critical analysis skills in regards to short stories and novels.