Sometimes in the rump end of the chalk face of secondary teaching & if thats not a mixed metaphor, i will eat my hat – LOL, it is easy to forget that some set texts are set because they are truly good………………..so, this week, I and my special withdrawal english group have been dipping our collective toes in the joy of John Steinbeck.
All my students are first generation imigrants, many from families with limited literacy in any language, they dont tend to read for pleasure, so a “proper” book, is a big deal.
We started with the always mesmerising John Malkowitch [ my spelling fairy seems to have deserted me] and the film grabbed us all, the story of migrant workers, moving to wherever the work is, leaving families behind and holding tight to tiny dreams of escape and autonomy, is of course their families stories, so they embraced those images and narratives.
And now, we are deep into the book itself, debating why George stays with Lennie, whether Curlys’ wife is a slut, how hot Slim is and will Lennie get to pet the rabbits……………………….
i almost wept, when Candys’ old dog is shot – my elderly & much loved mare was shot in Feb & i didnt stay with her – Candys’ grief at allowing others to put his elederly dog to sleep had real personal resonance.
I am toying with the idea of sneaking a bit of “The grapes of wrath” in before the end of term, my students’ stories and their journeys from Afghanistan, Somalia and Kosova may fit in well with the experiences in that book