Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Volunteers? Anyone?

English class. They were reading George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant". Out loud. Together.

This works better for some classes than for others. At the continuation high school, it's generally a bad idea. I don't get volunteers. And if I volunteer them, they balk.

(Some outright refuse to read. Some will read a sentence or two and then refuse to go on. Some pretend not to hear me. Sure, I can browbeat them into reading, but it takes me so long to get them to agree, and then after they finish their one paragraph, I have to do it again. Something that should take 20 minutes can take more than an hour this way.)

It's a good thing I like to read out loud. Some periods I end up doing most of it.

(I opt for getting through the reading to get to the written portion of the assignment rather than telling the teacher that we couldn't get through all the reading in the time allotted )

Most English textbooks nowadays have an audio component. That is, there are files with the stories being read. Pop in CD, push play, and the students only have to follow along. Easy.

But nowadays, those files are more often on the publisher's website, accessible to registered users. Like the teacher. Not the sub.

(The teacher explained that if she hadn't been slammed, she would have gotten the tech guy to download the audio files to CD for me, but she ran out of time.)

Technology. It just gives us a whole new set of problems.


  1. I remember an incident in my eighth grade English class. A very popular kid who was always the class clown and sometimes (but not always) cause issues with the teacher was called upon to read.

    He had the most difficult time pronouncing the simplest of words, and I realized that he was almost illiterate or had some kind of disability.

    Many in the class were mortified. Here was this guy who was always in the limelight attracting attention to himself, and he was slipping through the cracks of the education system.

    Not sure why your story reminded me of this, but I have always thought of that kid and wondered how something like that could happen.

  2. I always hated reading in class, so I kind of feel for students who balk. Listening does sound a lot better. I remember in seventh grade we listened to War of the Worlds and that was the most fun I had in English class that year.


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