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Challenging Students - Previous Revision

"As a student teacher, I was fortunate to work with a cooperating teacher who said, “I want someone to love the kids as much as I do.”  I was inspired by that and worked at lesson planning to show my “love.”  In retrospect, it was a love for teaching writing and Shakespeare, and it was this kind of love that kept me going for a few years. However, what I loved changed when I began working with inspiring, bright, and often selfless teens; I loved the “good” kids. Now in my 16th year of teaching, I realize love isn’t a feeling; it’s an act of the will, a conscious choice I make no matter what students do. AP Amy may challenge my grading or Sophomore Sam may say, “This is stupid” every day, but I love them. In loving my challenging students, I have found the sweetest successes."  

--Tracy Fisher Bouslog, Parkway South High School, Manchester, Missouri
10 years teaching

Related NCTE Resources...

Unlocking Shakespeare's Language: Help for the Teacher and Student  With the activities in this book by Randal Robinson, your students can come to understand the language of Shakespeare by learning to recognize and translate troublesome words and syntactic patterns. The activities involve rearranging words in lines of Shakespeare to a more familiar subject-verb-object, or complement, sequence; rearranging lines to reproduce Shakespearean rhymes and iambic pentameter; imitating Shakespeare using modern sentences; and other detailed work with words.

Performance Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare  How can high school and college teachers help their students get the most out of studying Shakespeare? In Performance Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare, Edward L. Rocklin offers teachers a wide array of concepts and practices to explore with their students specific performances as well as the performance potentials of a Shakespeare text. Examining drama as both text and performance opens up a range of actions that inexperienced readers can miss when they are limited to reading words on the page. The importance of analyzing and interpreting Shakespeare’s works becomes clear when students are encouraged to use their critical thinking skills to imagine and perform these texts.

"Selling Shakespeare" In this September 2002 English Journal article, Michael Milburn considers how the successful teaching of Shakespeare represents the ultimate challenge for many English teachers, one that measures their ability to enlighten and inspire. 

"Why I Teach, Promote, and Love Adolescent Literature: Confessions of a College Professor." Jim Cope argues that the number one goal in teaching literature should be to create lifelong reflective readers, and that the job of a novel at its highest level is to illuminate the human condition. This article appeared in the April 1998 issue of Voices from the Middle.

"Teacher to Teacher"  This September 2002 English Journal column shares six teachers' comments on how, why and which of Shakespeare's sonnets they teach.

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