Read Banned Books
Having looked at 2010’s list of most-challenged books, I’ve decided that I need to read more of them. Anything that someone wants to ban is worth at least a look. I’m sad to say I haven’t read any of these except for the first Twilight book (which I will maintain had very accurate late-teen-years dialogue). Several of my friends have been thrilled that The Hunger Games is turning into a movie; I think I’ll start there.
Perhaps I’m lucky in that I’ve never had anyone say “How can you be teaching this to my child?” It’s one of the benefits of teaching math, physics, and chemistry. I’ve heard “Do you think they can handle this?” often enough (hint: yes), but never has someone implied that my choice of mathematics topics is morally wrong.
It makes me want to teach an English class. It seems to give one the option to be far more provocative, even “transgressive,” (what a beautiful word) and have more people recognize that that is indeed what’s happening. English teachers can say, “We’re going to read Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon and contrast it with the bible’s Song of Solomon” and get a reaction – or if not, they can just put And Tango Makes Three on the summer reading list. Instead, in physics, I’m limited to suggesting things like year-long project-oriented courses, or courses that begin from quantum physics, or using The Cartoon Guide to Physics as a textbook. The academics blink confusedly but the parents don’t get it. Sigh…
Physics and chemistry might have the best toys, but English teachers get to “corrupt the youth of tomorrow,” and there’s no cool factor that can beat that.