Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Summer Winds Down

My Rising 9th graders just finished their second novel of the summer, John Knowles's A Separate Peace. The predominate sentiment was one of praise for this minor classic. I had my concerns because all but two of my scholars are female. One of these young women noted that we have completed a great deal of reading this summer--a true statement.
Our first novel, A Prayer for Owen Meany, weaves its story through 600 plus pages, and A Separate Peace courses over 200. In addition to these two novels, they have read nearly half of the chapters in How to Read Literature Like a Professor and three short stories by Flannery O'Connor--"A Good Man is Hard to Find," "The Life You Save May Be Your Own," and "Everything That Rises Must Converge." We still have a week and a half to bust through Lord of the Flies.
And as the summer wind down, I find myself both filled with pride and filled with sorrow. These scholars, from inner-city Hartford, will have read five novels (Their Eyes Were Watching God last summer and Brave New World this past spring), two non-fiction (On Writing Well this past spring), and countless short-stories, articles, and essays over the course of fourteen months with us. They have risen to our expectations and pushed themselves beyond their own. They defy the stereotypes of inner-city youth.
But then I begin to think about the fall, of the impending chaos I will enter at the end of August. A different town, but a similar demographic. I know that inner-city youth can succeed; I know that inner-city youth want to succeed. Yet, too many do not. Too many of my school year scholars give in to the temptations around them--the hall-walking,the disrespect, the lackluster effort. Is it us? Is it the school, the teachers? Is it the parents? Or is there a vast difference between the poor of Hartford, CT and the poor of the rest of Connecticut?


At 11:12 PM , Blogger Susan 2010 said...

I have visited lot of blogs.But yours is the best one i have seen forever.
I read many type of article about " The Summer Winds Down"but yours is damn interesting...Thank you..


At 6:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Student success takes a village. It encompasses school climate, peer relationships, teacher belief in the importance of their subject and their students. Parents/guardians also help; their is documented proof that those with parental support do better. This being said, "we can't save them all". However, we can focus on deserving students who teeter on the edge, beseech them, advocate for them and help them to believe.


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