I'm a first year teacher and I teach 9th grade. I teach in a mostly white school, but we are becoming more and more diverse every day (especially compared to what the school USED to be). About 1/4 to 1/5 of each class is African American. We are getting ready to start To Kill a Mockingbird, and yesterday we had a big long discussion about the "n" word. I gave them a lot of historical background and explained why the word is used in the book. I had a particular student who came up to me after class and was crying. At first he was looking towards the ground, and I didn't know he was crying. He sat patiently has he waited for the rest of the students to leave the room. When he looked up, I saw he was crying--and so much that he couldn't even talk to me. This student is African American, and I have a feeling it has to do with the discussion we had in class. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that the word appears in the book or that we're reading the book. I tried to call his name when he started to walk out of the room, but he was too upset to stop and talk to me. This is the same student who came up to me before class to ask if he HAD to read the book. What do I do? Also, while we are reading To Kill A Mockingbird, I was thinking of putting them in some sort of reading groups. I think it is going to get boring real fast if we all take turns reading around the room. Any ideas?