Home » Uncategorized » An English teacher’s response to “Why do we have to read this book?”

An English teacher’s response to “Why do we have to read this book?”

After 31 years of listening to them whinge, I ignore it now…..

I appeal to their sense of smugness and tell them it’s a classic they’ll be able to boast about having read…

I tell them these texts will make them sound more interesting at dinner parties one day….

I tell them it’s compulsory to read but never compulsory to like the texts and I insist they be ready to give an intelligent account of what they don’t like, thereby forcing them to present a constructive whinge… (Which means I get even more work out of them)

I tell them how in high school I secretly loved Shakespeare but was too crippled by peer pressure to admit it and why that’s an incredibly sad thing….

I talk about the time our teacher had us read ‘Sons and Lovers’ and how I was so moved by the story I started to refer to my Dad as “Dadda” until family members started to give me weird looks and I stopped…..

I admit that when I was their age I so enjoyed ‘The Canterbury Tales’ that whilst on holidays with Mum (Dadda had to work) I purchased my own copy and read it on the beach…

And my favourite response of all time to their whinges…..

I fill a jar with mixed lollies and tell them that the jar is the text and the lollies inside are the characters, setting, plot…..They represent all the things that happen in our lives…the good, the bad and the ugly…..I tell them that we read good literature because it reflects what happens in our lives and the lives of others and hopefully in the process we will become people who are more loving, compassionate and wise…

And then while we read, we eat the lollies.

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