Monday, October 4, 2010
Procrastination and Facebooking Hamlet
I have a lesson plan due for my English class and, like all good procrastinators, I am writing it pretty close to the deadline. My friend and I had a discussion tonight about study habits and he was expounding on his method of getting up every day at the same time and heading to the library to start studying in the morning. He combined this with studying between classes and, thus, he was able to just relax when he went home, content in the knowledge that he'd put in a good day of study.
Well, I'm not like that. In fact, I never have been. And yet, when I teach students about writing, how it's a step-by-step process, best approached methodically and in pieces, with careful review every step of the way, I can't help but feel a litttttttttle bit hypocritical. Not that I let my conscience bother me in that regard or anything. If there's anything that I've learnt from teachers college, it's that different people learn and work in different ways. Now let's just hope that my future students find this and bring it up in class. What an interesting discussion that could turn out to be!!
As you might've guessed from the title of this post, the lesson plan is supposed to be about that old standby, Hamlet. And, lurching around the internet as I have been, I accidentally came across this new article on an "online classic, Sarah Schmelling's "Hamlet (Facebook News Feed Edition)," a retelling of the Shakespeare play that was published in McSweeney's in 2008". I found it pretty hilarious and I think it could be an interesting exercise to do with students after some modified formatting.
Then again, I was reminded of an online course I took once where one of my advisors cautioned us about using modern styles to "update" classic texts. He cautioned that refashioning the classics like Shakespeare into, for example, a hip-hop cadence, could quickly devolve into hokiness if not done with tact. The last thing you want to do is appear contrived in front of your students. As my History professor, Dave Hamilton, said: "What are high school kids but masters at telling who or what is and what isn't cool? If you're not totally yourself and you try to fake it or phone it in, they will see through you in a second. And then you're toast.". Food for thought and another hour of my time spent off task!!