Friday, March 18, 2011

Sticks and Stones...

Last Sunday night, ESPN aired the latest edition to its 30 for 30 series. The subject this time was Michigan's Fab Five-Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, Chris Webber, and Jalen Rose. The Documentary was executive produced by one of the Fab 5 members-Jalen Rose. Many expected the doc to be polarizing because you either loved or hated the Fab 5. It, however, became polarizing for an entirely different reason. It all started with Jalen Rose expressing his thoughts as an 18 year old out loud, "Schools like Duke didn't recruit players like me. I felt like they only recruited black players that were Uncle Toms." This would include Duke Standout, Grant Hill who responded on to the comment on Wednesday in The New York Times. Some have criticized both Jalen and Grant, while others support both Jalen and Grant. The fact is it is bigger than both men a fact that I appreciate that Chris Broussard, Jesse Washington, and Michael Wilbon discussed.

I didn't watch the documentary. Why you ask? Because I could not care less about the Fab 5. There I said it. I didn't like the Fab 5. So, what? (I didn't watch the documentary on the University of Miami for the same reason.) Why didn't I care about the Fab 5 at the time? One, it was my senior year in high school, and I was preparing myself for college. Two, I didn't care for NCAA basketball and had pretty much stopped watching NBA basketball. Three, my sports had been essentially limited to the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Francisco 49ers, the Atlanta Braves, and WCW wrestling. The only reason I even saw any of their games during March Madness was because we didn't have cable, and I was limited to 5 channels. Nothing else was on. I watched Duke's wins only because it was on. If you've read this blog, you have picked up on the fact that I'm rather an odd duck, but I have something in common with both Grant Hill and Jalen Rose. Let me explain...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I am a Teacher...

“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”
John F. Kennedy
The last few weeks, there have been various opinions batted around about teachers. They are overpaid, they are undereducated, they are underachieving, they are failing the children. Really? I want to take the opportunity to clear up some myths about teaching.

Gatsby Revisited...

Every Spring, I try to complete my American Literary canon by assigning my students to read F. Scoot Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. I discuss Fitzgerald's role in the Lost Generation, the Jazz Age in America, and the difference between the aristocracy and the nouveau riche. The novel is 86 years old, but I still think that it holds up today. Today's Nouveau riche are still trying to keep up with the Aristocracy. Their antics are even more outlandish than they were in the 1920's, except now they can invite us along on the journey with their "reality" shows. So, last year I wrote a series of articles about Gatsby's relevance today. I called the series "The Gatsby Complex." Hope you enjoy!!

"The Gatsby Complex, Part One: The Lost Generation"
"The Gatsby Complex, Part 2: The Tom Buchanans"
"The Gatsby Complex, Part 3: The Ladies of Gatsby"
"The Gatsby Complex, Part 4: Gatsby"

"They were careless people,. . .--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money of their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made."~F. Scott Fitzgerald

This Can't Be Life...

Every morning, I open my Google News page to see what is happening in the world. As I was scanning the headlines, this one caught my attention: "11-Year-Old Girl Gang-Raped by 18 Men in Texas." I was horrified. I have a 10 year old niece, and the idea that anyone would do this to a child mortified me.

It wasn't enough that these "men" (and I use that term loosely as they range in age from middle schoolers to 27) raped this child in two seperate locations. They took photos and videotaped the assault. The assault, which happened in November, came to the attention of authorities after one of the little girls schoolmates saw the video and reported it to a teacher. As I read the article, the writer was commenting on how the media especially the New York Times had been treating the event. It appeared that most articles appeared to be blaming the little girl for what happened to her.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lead Us Not Into Temptation...

"What's the use you learning to do right, when it's troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong..."~Huckleberry Finn
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is one of my favorite novels. I just recently taught this novel to my students; however, this isn't about Huck Finn. It's about that quote, "Troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong..."

Like many of you, I am a grown up. According to my mother, I've been a grown up since I was 7. My mother could depend on me to be the one amongst her children to do the right thing. That said, I'm not perfect. Of my mom's five children, I was the least spoiled, because I feared the rod. I was the snitch, or as my sister called me the "stool pigeon" and "Miss Goody Two Shoes." I was the kid who conscious of someone copying my paper would write the wrong answers and change them when that child proudly gave the teacher his/her paper. I was the kid covering my paper with a piece of notebook paper or with the patented head on the desk arm wrap. I'm the girl who accepted a zero on my project because I refused to do the other people's work. That was me. The Good Girl.