Thursday, September 21, 2006

I've Gone Mad...

...and written THIS for my Joyce class journal. I told you people it would happen sooner rather than later:

I need to admit something rather private in my reading journal this week. It’s alright, trust me I’m a blogger. In fact, I’m not just a blogger, but as my (nasty word redacted) professor Colin McEnroe refers to me, “A rock star blogger who will someday die overdosing on an eightball from all of his fame.” I’m not that famous-not yet anyways. My point was rather that I’m used to admitting rather private things to strangers.
Anyways, my private admission is that I’m bored. It’s my tenth year of post high-school education and I’ve lost my fervor. I came to Trinity with a motivation to learn, and my first seven years went fairly well. The fire that went into my learning has burned me out. So I’m looking for new things other than reading journals to do each week. Don’t get me wrong, your assignment is great and I’m sure I will pass if I write them.
I suppose being bored isn’t all that private an admission. After all, lots of people are bored. Come to my class someday and you’ll see the very epitome of boredom from my students. I like to ramble when I’ve had too much coffee and high schools freely dispense coffee.
I’d like to add, in case you were feeling insecure, that it’s not you, it’s me. Your class seems great and exciting and I know I will do all the work with passion. Seriously, I know you’re wondering what you can do to spice up our teacher/other teacher but also a student relationship. Don’t worry about it. It has nothing to do with your class or you as a person.
The first time I read Portrait, I was scared so ridiculously that I put it down and forever swore that James Joyce was the devil. I was seventeen. At that age, any author who wrote in a complicated manner was the devil. Don’t even get me started on what I thought of Dickens or Steinbeck.
Rereading it, I know what it was and realize my teacher’s mistake. My teacher was older, with a thick gray beard and huge sunken eyes. I adored him because he told the most fascinating stories. Saying he made a mistake is tantamount to heresy for me. But upon reflection, he made huge mistakes in teaching Joyce.
I’m ruminating on this because I, as a teacher, often read through the lens of what I can teach. So I was thinking of how I would teach Portrait as a high school teacher. What kinds of changes would I make and such.
Here’s my problem with the way I was taught it. The professor told us to just read it. Guess what happened? Seriously, guess. Have you figured it out? Right, he told us to read the opening without telling us a single thing about Joyce or Ireland or what a bildungsroman is. Guess who didn’t read a single word of Portrait after reading the first page? Me being the sly young man I was at that age, I read the first page to my mother, who quickly endorsed my plan to not read it. She likes Danielle Steele books.
I’ve been considering what the best way is to introduce a seventeen or eighteen year old to the stream of consciousness in the beginning of the book. Personally, I would create a really cool PowerPoint that blends the text with images to clarify what is going on. Playing that PowerPoint many times would be paramount.
Here, I wrote an example of it:

Once upon a time…


Hairy Face dad/Baby Tucow

And so on…

Get the idea? It’s all about showing the imagery of stream of consciousness. I’m still working on the wetting the bed section. It’s going to be a little more complicated.
By the way, as a teacher, I know how boring it is to read many of the same paper, so I hope this at least made your reading experience a little more interesting. It sure made my writing experience a little more interesting. Check out my blog sometime:
Yes, I might as well accept my F now.

1 comment:

scottahb said...

Joyce, eh?

Portrait scared the crap out of me in high school too - and Dubliners is more than work than reading, it seems.

Who's teaching the Joyce class, Kuyk?