Oh, the angst!

Being the father of a teenage girl is the hardest thing ever! I won’t go into detail about everything that’s gone on this week, but let’s just say my oldest daughter and I have … not been seeing eye to eye on some things. I know she doesn’t believe I have her best interests in mind. I’m sure she’s called me every name under the sun. She’s probably hated me most of the week. That is hard to accept. Very hard. I miss my little girl.

It’s snowing outside. A few days ago it was 85 degrees. Last weekend the above mentioned daughter put on a bikini and washed my truck. And now it’s snowing.

My AP classes are finished with The Grapes of Wrath. They took their final test and wrote their final essay on it on Thursday. I got a nice bell curve on the test. Most of the essays were pretty good. In most cases their writing has improved this year. With just over a month before the AP test we really need to focus on analyzing poetry, especially the older works, and time management. I think saving Shakespeare for the period right before the test will help us there. Right now they’re reading Grendel independently and we’ll read Burton Raffel’s translations of Beowulf together as a class. Then we’re doing Othello. After that (after the test) we’ll read The Exorcist. I got my copies of that one today. Anyway, I’m sorry to be leaving Grapes behind. It’s made me want to reread East of Eden this summer.

Because this is my first year teaching AP, and because the students are not as motivated as I’d hoped, we did not get to everything I had planned on my syllabus. In looking at it over the past couple of days, we had a real lack of diversity. The only non-white author we read was Chinua Achebe. We’ve read some poems by women and we read Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” but we did not read a single novel by a woman. I have Ayn Rand, Charlotte Bronte and one other I can’t recall on the syllabus, but we didn’t get there. Many of them did choose female authors for their reading over the Christmas break. I’m not a big advocate of categorizing works by the gender or race of the author, but there are often some differences the kids should be able to identify. I hope this oversight on my part doesn’t bite them on the test. Next year we’re going from block schedule to a seven-period day and I’ll have the kids all year instead of just the last three 9-week periods, so we should have more time to cover more work.

Speaking of women authors, I tried listening to the audiobook of Toni Morrison reading Beloved a while back. I couldn’t get through it. I was in college when that old hag Oprah did her film version and a feminist professor I had required we go see it and write an essay on it. I wrote about how it (the movie) was not effective as a ghost story because it broke various rules, and she ripped me for not mentioning the feminist aspects of the story. Anyway, I wanted to see if the book was better than seeing Oprah pissing on screen. Good lord! The story just rambled from one place to another. It was like taking a trip from Oklahoma City to Tulsa by way of Phoenix, Austin, Omaha and Chicago. Morrison is not a professional reader, either. Like I said, I couldn’t get through it. I did find it interesting that Oprah left out the bit about the Sweet Home men having sex with cows. Have I mentioned how much I hated the professor who made me watch that film? Yeah. We got into an argument once over the title character in “A Rose for Emily” and I left class so mad that I forgot to pick up my bag containing several hundred dollars worth of camera equipment. She actually argued that Emily was a sympathetic character.

What else can I rant about? Oh hell, it’s after 1 a.m. I’m really just at the computer because I’m putting off reading Shakespeare. I’ve never read Othello. It’s on the table beside my bed, waiting on me. I. Do. Not. Like. Shakespeare.

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