Substitute Teaching: English (OJHS 3.1)

Yay! I got to teach my favorite subject today: English. Two sections of seventh grade English and five sections of ninth grade English. The seventh graders are getting ready for The Diary of Anne Frank and the ninth graders are in the middle of To Kill a Mockingbird. I love both books and read both to my kids and myself while in middle and high school and as a college student. I think I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird at least five times for school. Maybe my enthusiasm bled through. My students had a lot of fun and were very focused.

The seventh graders have so much interest. I did get a warning from the regular teacher to go light on the description of the holocaust; one of the girls had nightmares last week from the descriptions shown in videos and pictures. I told him nightmares are a good thing regarding the holocaust. The holocaust is a nightmare. I think the complaining mother needs to spend more time with her child discussing the holocaust and The Diary of Anne Frank is a great discussion starting point.

The ninth graders know more about Mockingbird then I expected. I should not be that surprised; Orem Junior’s student body is quite diverse. The Hispanic and African-American kids really get it. In one of the classes, racism became a big discussion because some of the white kids thought there is no racism anymore. That discussion had the opportunity to go sideways, but thankfully it did not. I let both sides talk and then I described what my kids faced in school and church in Orem, Utah. I also pointed out that yes racism is not nearly as bad as it was before, but that there is so much more Americans must do to make sure everyone receives equal treatment.

I promised the kids we would talk more and that we would have focused work specifically on the texts for both books.


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