I was a guest lecturer in CT’s graduate seminar this morning.
The University puts on a Summer Literacy Institute every year, and CT has been an instructor in that program for nearly 20 years. This year, she drew a “Responding to Literature” course, and she asked me, way back in March, if I could come in to offer my presentation on reading film in high school English classes.
I was really excited to do this. I have had some really great conversations in graduate seminars, and was hoping that this class would be talkative and engaged. While I’m not saying that they WEREN’T, they weren’t as excited about this subject as I’d hoped. Of course, tomorrow is the last day of the class, most of these folks have been participating in the Institute for four weeks, and it’s excruciatingly hot in these parts, so it could well be that, under different conditions, the conversations would have been more animated. As it was, they didn’t seem eager to challenge their thinking, but they did seem to enjoy the presentation.
I showed them scenes from Schindler’s List, Nuremberg, Ever After, and Glory. We talked (okay, *I* mostly talked) about navigating the silences where we KNOW something important is happening, about motivation, and about how to write through important moments. I told Punkin’ Pie’s “bring out your dead” story and reminded the class that the whole reason we’re in this business is to give our students experiences that help them relate to their world. We talked about what kind of films we can show when trying to teach concepts like hubris, patriotism, irony and humor.
It was great to be in front of a classroom again.