Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I love this.

I love teaching novels.  I love standing up in front of a classroom of eager 18-22 year olds and talking enthusiastically and earnestly about literature and why it matters.

I'm teaching Fahrenheit 451 right now, in a summer class on Banned Books.  It.  Is.  So.  Fun.

Fahrenheit 451 is a twentieth-century American novel, which is not my area of expertise.  In fact, none of the novels I'm teaching this summer is in my comfort zone of nineteenth-century British literature (did I just call nineteenth-century Brit lit my "comfort zone"?  How embarrassing.).  And yet.  I am having a wonderful time.  These kids--all twenty-freaking-four of them--are smart and sincere and they really mean it when they talk about how Fahrenheit 451 teaches us to resist conformity and think for ourselves.  It's adorable.

I had them start out doing a short writing assignment today, responding to the epigraph of the novel:  "When they give you ruled paper, write the other way." - Juan Ramon Jiminez.

I told them to get out their own ruled paper and tell me how that quotation relates to the novel.  Many of them literally wrote the "other way" on their ruled paper which was so freaking cute

It turns out that teaching twentieth century American novels is fun, too, because they offer cultural references that students readily pick up on, most of them being more familiar with the Cold War than they are with the Crimean War.  So we've been able to have conversations relating Fahrenheit 451 to Eminem lyrics and Nazi Germany and high school cliques and The Blind Side and Jonathan Swift.

Also, I am totally charmed each time one of them calls me "Doctor."

I can't believe I get paid to show up and talk about books for an hour and a half.  This is why I finished grad school.

1 comment:

  1. I love being called Doctor!!!

    Your job does sound like lots of fun!