26 April, 2010

Monday Mutterings: Teaching Shakespeare

A woman's face with Nature's own hand painted
Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion;
A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women's fashion;
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue, all 'hues' in his controlling,
Much steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure.
- Sonnet 20 (my personal favorite)

Tomorrow, I begin teaching Romeo and Juliet to my demonic beloved freshman.  I know all most of them will never really have the love affair that I do with The Bard.  I've always been facinated by his use of pagan metaphors/allusions despite him being a Catholic.  I guess part of it is pagan/Greek/Roman references in Elizabethian literature is the same as The Family Guy using references to James Woods and Back to the Future.  They're essentially pop culture references of the time.  However, England had such strict laws about witchcraft until the mid-twentieth century, so it's quite remarkable how he was able to get away with so much.

I was thinking that while I'm teaching Romeo and Juliet I can bring in some horror stories tales of my teaching the play.  I could write my own soap opera/dramady about my teaching experiences.  So many television show ideas could be made with what I hear in the hallways or see in my classroom.  I have an insane interesting bunch this year.  I can only wait till I hand them foam swords.  I just hope that this stormy weather passes soon because I like to take them outside to act out the play.  Cross your fingers for me!


Wendy said...

You know it's funny, I was just thinking about I never really appreciated Shakespeare until I attended a college class where the teacher so loved Shakespeare he passed that love onto his students. I think you'll do just fine w/ "O Romeo, Romeo" lol...Might want to bring in the Romeo/Juliet movie w/ Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio. I thought it was horrible, but kids seem to really enjoy it. I hope you post more about the teaching.

Avie said...

I have just finished teaching Romeo and Juliet to my year 9s (13/14 year olds) and they actually really got into it, in spite of reservations about Shakespeare. They loved learning about the theatre and culture of Elizabethan England. I hope it all goes well for you and looking forward to hearing your stories!

Willow said...

Believe it or not, I'm actually a fan of the 1997 version of Romeo and Juliet. I think it's because I'm a big fan of the director. I usually do a "drive-in movie" day after school where I order pizza for the kids and pop some popcorn for them and show the movie. There's not enough time left for me to show the film during the day, so I show it to whoever wants to come by.

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