Monday, January 08, 2007

I Don't Like Everything

I walked into an English class the other day. They were reading "The Grapes of Wrath". I read that book last year, because one of my AP calculus students recommended it and I like to show the kids I can do more than just teach math. It turns out that I didn't like the book. It was too flowery and descriptive for my taste, but the boy who recommended it and I still had an interesting discussion about parts of the book. I commented to the English class, that this book was not a book I was very fond of. My friend, the teacher, was not happy that I told the class this, but I really don't understand why. People tell kids they don't like math or science all the time. That is fine with me. Different strokes for different folks. We teach kids daily things that they do not like, but they have to learn them anyways. I like math, but I don't like every topic I teach, and I tell the kids when I am teaching a topic I don't care for. I love to read but don't like every book I have ever read. I don't think we can force kids to like the things we teach them. I tell my students that they learn for learning sake. They are young and need to be exposed to everything so that they can better choose what they want to study in college and what careers they want to pursue. Just because they don't like something, doesn't mean they don't have to do it. I think it is more important to let the kids know that teachers are people first, with likes and dislikes, just like they have. We all do things we don't like.


Jonathan said...

I'd be in trouble with your friend. I'm not shy about sharing likes and dislikes: movies, books, tv shows (I forgot to trash the apprentice today). And yes, I pick on their current English readings. All of this stuff allows them to disagree with me, which they can't really do with math. It keeps them on their toes, makes them think. I am 100% with you on this.

I tell them about math likes and dislikes, too. I have trouble with geometry, love arithmetic. I often share more than one method, and tell them which I prefer. Some students bravely defend why they like "the other way." Nothing wrong with that.

Pissed Off said...

I try to stay away from politics with kids, but my big mouth usually gets in the way. I've had some very knowledgeable Republicans in my classes over the years and we have gotten into heavy discussions. I usually wait until after AP exam for these topics, though.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this post....nothing wrong with letting students express themselves when they do not like something. I ask my little 4 year olds all the time if they like/do not like a book.

I am also not a fan of The Grapes of Wrath too..too wordy, dense, didnt flow with me very well..