Since this week has been a “blow up” week of all things controversial, I figured I’d throw one more in the ring. Controversial Books. Let’s ban them! Burn them! Pretend they never existed! Matter of fact, when we hear someone use the titles of one, let’s bury our heads into our pillows and scream! Then throw said pillow in said person’s face. Whew. It’s exhausting. BUT it has been the theme of our government this week, so when in Rome….I mean, America…
Why do we ‘ban’ books? (As if we could do so under the Constitution?? Oh, wait…apparently that age-old document has been through the ringer this week!) There are some people with such strong opinions toward literature that they feel it would benefit the greater populace to rid the country of it entirely. Why in the world would we introduce our children to Mark Twain’s satire in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn when he uses offensive words???? You mean that there is NO religion in 1984, and they do WHAT in a CHURCH? Gasp! Gone With the Wind, a novel set in Antebellum South, has racial issues? Dear Me!! What should we do?!?! Well, we as Americans always have the solution— ban something! Or vote! Then vote again when we don’t like the outcome! OR diversify literature so that these so called ‘banned’ books become an apparent attempt to bury our past and its achievements, shame, knowledge, enlightenment under the dirt of modern transgressions.
Okay- I may have been a TEENY WEENY bit sarcastic up to this point. In all seriousness, literature is wonderful! American literature, once it branched out beyond the confines of European mimicking, is something to be celebrated. From The Awakening by Kate Chopin to The Help by Kathryn Stockett, novels are an escape from the modern day. They are a way to connect to the past while learning about oneself. There is a lesson to be learned in each novel in which you can immerse yourself. It’s like a mini-vacay for your brain! Despite the fact that some of the classics, like Twain, use antiquated words, there is much to be said for style. Don’t get so caught up in your defensive nature and complete disregard the moral, the theme, the intent behind the overall plot of a novel. Perhaps you disagree with the author’s choice of language (and apparently we live in a country full of people with opinions), but don’t lose perspective. Remember that each author created that story from within his/her own depths, in his/her own time period in order to convey a STORY for the sheer purpose of entertaining. If you’re lucky, within that entertainment, you can find something magical!
(Shout out to Sublime)
“Life is but a quick succession of busy nothings.”~Jane Austen
Ahhhh… such wisdom by one of the greatest author’s ever published. I truly enjoy a good Jane Austen novel. There’s nothing to remind oneself of an ‘easy life’ than to curl up with her novel and a good cup of joe (with ice should you feel it more appropriate in the summer). Reading is an excellent “busy nothing”.
Recently, I was at an outing with some of my teacher-friends (as if to differentiate them from my NON-teacher friends! ha!). One of them said, “Oh I’ve read three books this summer!” To which another replied, “I’ve read four! It’s great!” They then began to converse about their books. Much to my chagrin, I realized I hadn’t read ANY. I had not the time to sit and read at all! It was two whole weeks into summer, and I had not even gotten the opportunity to indulge in my favorite pastime. I set out to remedy it as quickly as possible!!
After our ‘accidental kitchen remodel’ was finished (longer story than should be allowed on the first blog), I was finally able to sit down and read. “Oh, Tara! How in the world with two small children do you find the time??” you ask. I can answer in two little words. Two short, glorious words in which all mothers of young children relish. Two infinitesimal words with SO much power…. nap time. That’s right. Between 1 and 3 in the afternoon, I have time to catch up on chores, watch a tv show (whose jingle does not repeatedly play in my head all afternoon), or read a few chapters in a book. It. Is. Awesome. I usually choose the latter.
Reading really does wonders for the brain. A quick click here will tell you how: http://www.realsimple.com/health/preventative-health/benefits-of-reading-real-books
Need somewhere good to start on your next “busy nothing”? Ask me! I LOVE inspiring others to read and helping them to find what interests them. Truly, finding a genre of literature you enjoy is like being able to have a personal masseuse available at any time of the day. Or you could try this goofy little quiz to figure it out!
I’m starting a blog. This is my blog. Why am I starting a blog? Well….
Teaching is a tough profession. We are criticized beyond what anyone can even imagine (except maybe politicians). We are underpaid (THAT age-old argument). We have long hours (Oh, but what about summers? Blah). We never get the credit that’s due (but so few do!).
But dang it… I love what I do. I love teaching. Not because I have SOOOO much wisdom to impart upon the young minds of tomorrow. (hahaha! I know half of you just had a sarcastic comment to insert .) I just enjoy those conversations with students where they come around to a conclusion based upon their own understanding of a text, where they realize they DO understand, and where they actually teach me something instead. I love the interaction and the exchange of knowledge with my students. All that other (am I allowed to say it?) ‘crap’ just gets in the way of what I really like to do. I like it. I like being a teacher. (Whew! It’s almost like a Confessional up in here!)
In an effort to continue my own education and better myself professionally, I am currently working on my National Board Certification, which I feel is an elite, and pretty intense training for educators to become more effective at what they do. Much of the information I have scoured encourages teacher to have a blog- one that allows for interaction while also encouraging self-reflection.
So, here I am. I’m starting a blog. This is my blog.
Try not to judge me too harshly on spelling and punctuation, please!