I should preface this post by apologizing for posting twice in one 24 hour period...that’s probably not so apropos in the blogging world is it? I’m claiming ignorance as my excuse...
So, it’s been a few weeks since I started this blog, and I was starting to wonder exactly how all those cutesy blog authors got so much traffic to their site (and subsequently beginning to think I’d always be blogging to myself….), but after finding out about linky parties (thanks to Farley), I now have ten (count them….ten!) followers. Shout out to you all! With the exception of a brief break for sledding (you can still play in the snow at 22, right?) with my cousin/sister, and some yummy (although highly unhealthy) wings at my favorite sports bar, the blogosphere has sucked me in today — I hope the 5+ hours I’ve spent browsing isn’t an indication of how much time this is going to steal from me in the future! (but, I’m not really complaining….)
I wanted to take an opportunity to explain my blog name and where it came from. Last year in my English methods course at school I was introduced to a book by Sherman Alexie: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (if you haven’t read any of his books, I highly recommend them — very comical and geared towards middle school students, yet enjoyable for teachers too!) His book (a banned book as of 2010) became the basis for the senior capstone project I presented to the English department. Basically, my presentation centered around the idea that, as a student of English Literature (and a future English teacher), I believe that all literature is important. Until taking my capstone course that prepared me to give my exit presentation, I had myself fooled into believe that only the literature I liked was valid.
I am now of the opinion that all literature is important/valid, whether or not I like it (agree with it, promote it, use it in my classroom, etc…). To say that the written word is somehow less valid because I don’t agree with it is ridiculous. I think that literature as a whole is a catalyst for ideas — we, as readers, are the ones who get to test and/or reject the ideas we find within the pages of a book. So, I argued that though Alexie’s novel found its way onto the banned books list due to a theme heavily connected to racism, if taught in the right way, could still be used in the classroom with positive outcomes. It doesn’t have to promote racism — instead, it could be used to show how harmful racist comments and ideas are to an individual. Being a Christian, I am finding this a difficult tightrope to walk on — obviously my faith and convictions are the most important thing to me (I’m certainly not advocating putting 50 Shades of Grey into the hands of my students…), and I certainly believe in keeping my mind on whatever is true, noble, and right...but at the same time I believe that literature is a tool — and even [age appropriate] literature I don’t necessarily agree with can be beneficial in my classroom. How can we teach something that we don’t acknowledge (racism, for instance?)
(I’d love your opinions on this…!)
I ended up naming my capstone presentation…. wait for it…. “The Absolutely True Opinion of an Almost Teacher” (nifty, eh!?) And, because I worked with this title so much in the last year, it only seemed natural to let it live in another variation as my blog name … my way of saying that I don’t have all the answers, but I’m willing to be real on this blogging/teaching journey, and I’m looking forward to all the advice/tips/pointers I can get from my lovely readers and fellow teachers :)