Back in High School

On registration day for our students, I got my first taste of being a teacher in a gym full of high school students. It wasn't quite like I expected. For one thing, they weren't really all that loud for over a thousand people in one place. Also, I didn't have the same reaction as one teacher, who thought that none of the kids looked like they had put in any thought as to what they were going to wear on the first day of school. While no one was wearing formal wear or even dresses or nice pants, I'm sure many of them spent a lot of time agonizing over their carefully constructed "I just woke up and threw this on" look.
Some teachers are not surprisingly pro-uniform, although from what I've heard, many parents in our community are decidedly against the idea of their child being required to wear the same thing as every other student in the school. From what I remember of high school, I was never distracted by another student's hair/clothing/jewelry enough that I could not focus on the lesson. Also, being hormonally charged would not disappear just because the bodies were covered in uniform dress, although I do agree that parts hanging out would be disturbing and am glad that is prohibited.
I think the most important factor in how much a student will learn in any school is not what everyone is wearing, but rather what is being taught and how teachers are teaching it. Most everyone can probably think of at least one teacher in their school experience who was just so interesting that you couldn't help but learn something. I had several in high school - Coach Altizer - who taught history like he had lived it, Mr. Ramsey - who made geometry proofs entertaining, and Mrs. Ware - a giant personality trapped in a tiny body, who murdered our English papers, and cut us regularly with her wit. I hope to be that kind of teacher that students remember as being passionate about imparting knowledge and inspiring them to absorb that knowledge, seek their own ideas and continue to be involved in creating the future, however they choose to do so.


100 Books List

    I saw this at MotherReader and thought it looked interesting. I've read a lot of books so far in my life and went through a short "great works" phase, so I definitely should have read more than 6 on this list. If you want to see how your reading compares --> Bold those you have read, italicize those you intend to read, and *asterisk* those you love.

  1. Pride and Prejudice — Jane Austen

  2. The Lord of the Rings — J.R.R. Tolkien

  3. Jane Eyre — Charlotte Bronte

  4. Harry Potter series — J.K. Rowling (I've read the 1st 3 in the series)

  5. To Kill a Mockingbird — Harper Lee

  6. The Bible

  7. Wuthering Heights — Emily Bronte

  8. 1984 — George Orwell

  9. *His Dark Materials — Philip Pullman*

  10. Great Expectations — Charles Dickens

  11. Little Women — Louisa May Alcott

  12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles — Thomas Hardy

  13. Catch 22 — Joseph Heller

  14. The Complete Works of Shakespeare (I've read Hamlet, Julius Caesar, The Tempest, A Midsummer-Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth-Night, The Life of King Henry V, First Part of King Henry VI, Romeo and Juliet, and several sonnets)

  15. Rebecca — Daphne Du Maurier

  16. The Hobbit — J.R.R. Tolkien

  17. Birdsong — Sebastian Faulks

  18. *Catcher in the Rye — J.D. Salinger*

  19. The Time Traveller’s Wife — Audrey Niffenegger

  20. Middlemarch — George Eliot

  21. Gone With The Wind — Margaret Mitchell

  22. The Great Gatsby — F. Scott Fitzgerald

  23. Bleak House — Charles Dickens

  24. War and Peace — Leo Tolstoy

  25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — Douglas Adams

  26. Brideshead Revisited — Evelyn Waugh

  27. Crime and Punishment — Fyodor Dostoyevsky

  28. Grapes of Wrath — John Steinbeck (I read about half of this and then accidentally left it at the beach)

  29. Alice in Wonderland — Lewis Carroll

  30. The Wind in the Willows — Kenneth Grahame

  31. Anna Karenina — Leo Tolstoy

  32. David Copperfield — Charles Dickens

  33. The Chronicles of Narnia — C.S. Lewis

  34. Emma — Jane Austen

  35. Persuasion — Jane Austen

  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe — C.S. Lewis

  37. The Kite Runner — Khaled Hosseini

  38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin — Louis De Bernieres

  39. Memoirs of a Geisha — Arthur Golden

  40. Winnie the Pooh — A.A. Milne

  41. Animal Farm — George Orwell

  42. The Da Vinci Code — Dan Brown

  43. One Hundred Years of Solitude — Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney — John Irving (I tried to read this and got stuck in the first 30 pages)

  45. The Woman in White — Wilkie Collins

  46. Anne of Green Gables — L.M. Montgomery

  47. Far From The Madding Crowd — Thomas Hardy

  48. The Handmaid’s Tale — Margaret Atwood

  49. *Lord of the Flies — William Golding*

  50. Atonement — Ian McEwan

  51. Life of Pi — Yann Martel

  52. Dune — Frank Herbert

  53. Cold Comfort Farm — Stella Gibbons

  54. Sense and Sensibility — Jane Austen

  55. A Suitable Boy — Vikram Seth

  56. **The Shadow of the Wind — Carlos Ruiz Zafon**

  57. A Tale Of Two Cities — Charles Dickens

  58. Brave New World — Aldous Huxley

  59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time — Mark Haddon

  60. Love In The Time Of Cholera — Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  61. Of Mice and Men — John Steinbeck

  62. Lolita — Vladimir Nabokov

  63. The Secret History — Donna Tartt

  64. The Lovely Bones — Alice Sebold

  65. The Count of Monte Cristo — Alexandre Dumas

  66. **On The Road — Jack Kerouac**

  67. Jude the Obscure — Thomas Hardy

  68. Bridget Jones’ Diary — Helen Fielding

  69. Midnight’s Children — Salman Rushdie

  70. Moby Dick — Herman Melville (I read part of it for an English lit class)

  71. Oliver Twist — Charles Dickens

  72. Dracula — Bram Stoker

  73. The Secret Garden — Frances Hodgson Burnett

  74. Notes From A Small Island — Bill Bryson

  75. Ulysses — James Joyce

  76. **The Bell Jar — Sylvia Plath** (this is one of the only books I've ever read more than once)

  77. Swallows and Amazons — Arthur Ransome

  78. Germinal — Emile Zola

  79. Vanity Fair — William Makepeace Thackeray

  80. Possession — A.S. Byatt

  81. A Christmas Carol — Charles Dickens

  82. Cloud Atlas — David Mitchell

  83. The Color Purple — Alice Walker

  84. The Remains of the Day — Kazuo Ishiguro

  85. Madame Bovary — Gustave Flaubert

  86. A Fine Balance — Rohinton Mistry

  87. Charlotte’s Web — E.B. White

  88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven — Mitch Albom

  89. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  90. The Faraway Tree Collection — Enid Blyton

  91. Heart of Darkness — Joseph Conrad

  92. The Little Prince — Antoine De Saint-Exupery

  93. The Wasp Factory — Iain Banks

  94. Watership Down — Richard Adams

  95. A Confederacy of Dunces — John Kennedy Toole

  96. A Town Like Alice — Nevil Shute

  97. The Three Musketeers — Alexandre Dumas

  98. Hamlet — William Shakespeare

  99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — Roald Dahl

  100. Les Misérables — Victor Hugo

  101. I'll say I've read 25 since I can't fully count #14 since I haven't read all of Shakespeare. Some of these books I had never heard of - A Town Like Alice? The Wasp Factory? If you interested in other books I have read and enjoyed, visit my Goodreads.com shelves.


Poetry Friday

We're going to try something new here. Reviews, haiku style. Now, I am just using the 5-7-5 syllable pattern, not a super-strict definition of haiku.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
Kids imprisoned by
Homeland Security start
youth revolution

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Prodigy gets dumped
by Katherines. What's his deal?
Oh, dingleberries.

Now if you can handle it, just for fun, three more original haikus. These are flashbacks from my late high-school writing period. I wrote 39 in one day. I was at the Governor's School for Humanities in Martin, TN and had a lot of free time. I just picked out 3 of my favorites. Hope you like.

My head is full of
static electricity
untapped potential

My feet are naked
sunning themselves like lizards
on hot desert rocks

Sinister insects
buzz around and land on me,
chew my flesh with glee

Thanks to The Well-Read Child for hosting Poetry Friday today.