Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Teacher Reflection: Vladimir Lenin Reminds Me of the Book Animal Farm
I was browsing online and saw a headline that Russians voted to bury Vladimir Lenin 87 years after his death. Now most people would probably find this fascinating (or be totally grossed out), but I became rather nostalgic because Vladimir Lenin reminds me of our (Ms. Storti and I) Animal Farm unit.
Most people read Animal Farm in school and most teachers have the book in their curriculum and it is mandatory to read. However, I really really dislike the book for teaching purposes. I taught ninth grade and the kids really really didn't get it. They loved the history lesson and somehow felt as if they were getting a break from class. But did they really learn anything? And are these types of books still so relevant that they are required in the curriculum. Is the lesson that good? I don't think so.
I think many schools/teachers need to update their curriculum and stop reading books just because they are "classics." Perhaps there are more relevant books (with important history and great imagery) that students could connect to. I can't help but think that books like this continue to make reading a chore for students.
Now it sounds like I am venting, and maybe I am, but when I think of Animal Farm I don't think about how difficult it was to teach or how many other books would have been a better choice. I think of my end of year surveys when a student told me that his favorite part of my class was reading Animal Farm because he learned they keep dead guys "alive" for a long time (true story).