I have to take a moment here to talk about my amazing theater class. I love them.
Even though my degree is in English Education, I enjoy teaching my theater and speech classes far more than I have ever enjoyed teaching any English class. It's an elective--one that's rapidly dying, what with the over-abundance of test-prep classes our students are now REQUIRED to take ... but I've left my soapbox outside so I'll move on.
We're just finishing up Shakespeare and, as always, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Bard. Or, as I often refer to him in class, My Boyfriend.
As always, we read Othello and Much Ado About Nothing, but not as always, I let the kids lead the discussion instead of directing everything myself. This was an experiment, and one that I was reluctant to try because I am (to understate a bit) a control freak. However, the students surpassed my expectations and really came up with some amazing ideas. There were times when I would ask a question just to get them going, but they totally took it and ran, and essentially, taught themselves some things.
It's so easy to teach students who WANT to be taught, and who want to learn, and who are willing to put some effort into it. And, sadly, the majority of students aren't like that. My theater class is the cream of the crop, as far as I'm concerned.
[True story: we have to write, for every lesson plan, EVERY DAY, how we differentiate our lessons. What this means, non-teachers, is how do we adjust our teaching so that it reaches everyone, from the lowest learners to the highest? Now, any teacher worth her salt already differentiates, even if she doesn't use that word to describe it, but our having to explain exactly what we do is just a bunch of CYA BS that the administration has dreamed up in order to make me want to quit my job. Anyway, I don't bother writing differentiation for my theater class; I only fill out the box for HIGH LEARNERS. It is a small rebellion, yes, but also I don't have any low or average learners in this class. How lucky am I?]
Yesterday they got into an argument about whether or not Much Ado is the same as Othello, except with a happier ending. The students were sharply divided, but they didn't just let their arguments devolve into name-calling and pouting. No, they USED QUOTATIONS FROM THE TEXT to support their opinions, and they BROUGHT UP THE ROLES OF WOMEN IN SOCIETY, and they REFERRED TO THE ESTABLISHED CLASS SYSTEM, and they BLEW MY MIND with their incredible discussion.
How can I get all my students to be like that?