Tolstoy does not totally own Steinbeck

Question (from my student survey handed out on the first day of class): If you could leave this class having accomplished just one thing, what would it be?
One student’s answer: To actually recognize American authors as talented.
Question: What do you and I have to do to make that happen?
Answer: Show me proof Tolstoy doesn’t completely own Steinbeck.

This kid isn’t being cutesy. He’s signaling that he has intellectual interests and, perhaps intentionally, he’s looking to see if our English course will be truly satisfy his need. This is the real difference with this tenth grade class and others I’ve taught.

There’s also a supposedly learning disabled young man in this class. This past week we’ve been reading a fairly easy essay by Rudalfo Anaya from our anthology. The only thing I’ve noticed is a lack of confidante. Otherwise, he’s been as able as the others. I’m calling his mother today to see what concerns she has.

Overall, this first week has been pleasurable. I can see the potential and possibilities with nearly all of our groups. I say nearly because my junior and senior mixed classes have issues in terms of attentiveness. They’ll be seeing their first participation grades next week, so hopefully they’ll have a better idea of how they should be behaving.

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