Books you aren't comfortable teaching?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by 1cubsfan, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. 1cubsfan

    1cubsfan Companion

    Apr 9, 2012
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    Nov 4, 2013

    Are there any books that you are uncomfortable teaching due to content in an English classroom, even to junior or senior level students? Are they required or do you have a list of recommended books and you can avoid it?

    If you were required to teach a book that you felt was inappropriate or that you didn't want to teach, how far would you go to change to book or your position?
  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Jun 7, 2006
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    Nov 4, 2013

    I would probably ask a few parents to read it and give their opinion. And go from there...
  4. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Jul 3, 2010
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    Nov 4, 2013

    If I was a student teacher, I would ask my cooperating teacher. If she or he says you need to teach it, then I would. When getting your own classroom, I would find a way to not teach a book that is inappropriate. If I really felt I was being asked to by admin. then I would take it up with the VP or P.
  5. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Jul 5, 2011
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    Nov 5, 2013

    I've never come across any yet that I felt were too inappropriate to teach that would actually ever be taught. Obviously we're probably not talking about 50 Shades of Grey.

    I'm always nervous about how my students will handle the content of Brave New World. In fact, last year's group was too immature so we read something else. This year's group rocks so we'll read it.
  6. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

    May 24, 2008
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    Nov 5, 2013

    There are several factors to consider ...

    When I started teaching, 9 years ago, I had class sets of novels available to me. I taught them because:
    - they were some of the standard novels for juniors/seniors
    - I had to start somewhere
    - I didn't have budget left to buy something different
    - they had been taught by the previous teacher

    Since then, I've been able to buy different class set of novels. Sometimes I use my classroom budget, sometimes I buy them on my dime.

    When I'm looking for a new novel to teach, I have a few go to places for recommendations:
    - Appendix B of the Common Core Standards
    - The English Companion Ning
    - Amazon reviews - sometimes helpful, sometimes not
    - I have a network on ELA teachers who I trust, so I get input from them, too

    When deciding on a novel, I consider:
    - Reading level
    - Theme connections
    - Interest level

    I can't think of a "standard" high school novel I wouldn't be comfortable teaching due to content. I can think of some standard novels that I wouldn't enjoy teaching just because I didn't enjoy the novel (e.g. Frankenstein).

    I CAN think of some young adult literature that I would be leery of teaching due to content (sex, drugs use). And, I can think of a long list of modern ?literature I wouldn't use in the classroom (e.g. 50 Shades - like the previous poster mentioned).

    If I ever had questions, I'd start by checking the locations I listed above and take my findings to the admin. I'd follow their recommendations.
  7. hmprincess9009

    hmprincess9009 New Member

    Nov 8, 2013
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    Nov 11, 2013

    One of my favorite pieces to teach is Night by Elie Wiesel. However, this year I have such an immature and out-of-control group, therefore I am very nervous about teaching this. In order for the book to make any sense its important that students understand what genocide is and are able to get a very brief understanding of the Holocaust from a historical point of view. As we were going over notes on genocide, I used both the Holocaust and the Rwadian Genocide as examples. When telling the class the names of the two tribes involved in the Rwandian Genocide, the class laughed that one was called the Tutsi and made a comment about is that where the Tootsi Roll got it's name. It was very immature.
  8. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

    Jun 5, 2012
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    Nov 12, 2013

    how horrible! i remember reading Night in hs and learning a lot, I also learned about Darfur and spent a whole semester with my class raising awareness (crazy to think that was over 10 years ago!!) Perhaps they should watch the movie and documentaries, perhaps thatll turn their laughter into cries
  9. anant

    anant Rookie

    Oct 10, 2013
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    Dec 3, 2013

    I'm always nervous about how my students will handle the content of "Vistas" . In fact, last year's group was too immature so we read something else. This year's group rocks so we'll read it.
    I am still afraid about exam because exam pattern is so difficult for it.and student never understand the way of answer .
  10. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

    Nov 14, 2009
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    Dec 7, 2013

    I would not feel comfortable teaching something overtly political such as 'Animal Farm.'

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