I’ve been doing a lot of substitute teaching here lately for the purpose of having some income. It’s been a real challenge and I have a great deal of respect for teachers, especially the ones that go the extra mile and do a good job. It’s very difficult to do so given the absent respect factor that is so common in our students these days. But now I’m sounding like a cranky old person!
“Back in my day, if we talked back to a teacher like you youngins do today, we got swats with a real paddle. That’s how it was and we liked it!”
OK, enough grumpiness.
Today I was subbing in an English class in which the students had to take the Robert Frost poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and identify all metaphors and similis, etc. I read the poem and tried to help the students to understand it. Quite frankly, it’s really a boring poem. I know, I’m not supposed to say that. I’m supposed to go gaga over it since it is Robert Frost, and the geniuses of English Poetry have deemed this poem worthy of all adoration and respect.
In the first class, as the students pondered this great poem, I told them it was the equivalent of a Facebook status update. Robert stopped in the woods during a snowfall and found it interesting. Great! Like many of our status updates… big deal!
During the second class, I tried to engage the students. Some thought it might be about Santa Claus. Another student said he thought it was about a man going off to war. Another one thought it was about a man who became lost.
For the most part, they said they didn’t like it. I pressed them on it: “Because no one cares,” said one young woman. Again, I pressed her on why no one cares? “Because it’s not about us!“
I couldn’t help but laugh. Here these Texas teenagers had no way to identify with Frost and his poem. Yet, for some reason, we have to read it and find all the metaphors, similis, alliterations, etc. Which, according to the English teacher across the hall, there are none. So why make the assignment?
Well, the sub has to have something to do with the class.
But please, no more Robert Frost. Can’t we find a poet who we can relate to from our day?
O wait, that’s Rap music. Never mind.
UPDATE: Since this helped Heath relate to the poem, see comments section, hopefully it will help you relate to it as well.