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Michael Barnes
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Godtear Beats the Odds - Review

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Scout Board Game Review

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The Split - Review

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July 21, 2022
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Too Violent

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23 Jan 2012 07:35 #113844 by scissors
Replied by scissors on topic Re: Too Violent
I think its within the teacher's judgement in this case to ban more book reports on the same kind of books either for being too violent or maybe (unspoken) too narrow minded and repetitive. It is absolutely within her rights to do so in her classroom and to challenge her authority on this particular issue might be pretty insulting to her and a terrible lessen for the boy. (not that I dont think Sag doesnt see that).

Kids aren't adults and sometimes they have to accept there is a broader world out there that is not always flexible and that they are the ones to have to adapt. This is not about censorship. nobody is stopping him from reading or writing whatever he wants on his own time.

Shit, I hated having to do algebra in math... amazingly, still had to do it.
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23 Jan 2012 10:38 #113849 by tscook
Replied by tscook on topic Re: Too Violent
I too was a child who painted his armies the three color tourny minimum.

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23 Jan 2012 12:30 #113851 by SuperflyPete
Replied by SuperflyPete on topic Re: Too Violent
I would ask if other works, which are considered classics by every conceivable standard (and are required reading in many college classes) would be more acceptable:

Romeo and Juliet
War and Peace
The Odyssey
The Illiad
The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven
Les Miserables
Animal Farm
Fahrenheit 451
1984

Yeah, the teacher just doesn't have the balls to say "I don't understand the content or its importance to culture"
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23 Jan 2012 13:21 - 23 Jan 2012 13:26 #113853 by scissors
Replied by scissors on topic Re: Too Violent
It's really not important whether the teacher lacks 'balls' or not... It's her classroom. It's amazing how many people think teachers can and should be pressured, swayed, coerced into meeting parents' notions of what is 'proper' for their child. Now, I can't comment on the state of the US school system, this school or this particular teacher, but how about a little respect for the person as a professional. Any other job, people outside will think twice before they come in and start telling you how they think you should do your work! There needs to be a little mutual trust, some give and take, sure, but where do some parents get the balls!

That said, course everyone had more than one shitty teacher in their elementary and high school days - I knew it, my parents knew it... but you have to deal with it.

Once teachers as whole have to justify all kinds of decisions and there must be a million of them because parents 'don't like it' , it's a slippery slope.

Seems to me the boy is being asked not to submit the same kind of book reviews on the same kind of subject matter - maybe she should have avoided the violence thing altogether and she could have. But god knows teachers already have enough on their hands without having to justify themselves all the time and she probably honestly sees them as being violent withOUT deeper resonance and themes like all of the literature you mentioned above.

I say all this as someone who dislikes authority himself but recognises that kids have to learn how to cope in the classroom environment with both good and less capable instructors; as adults in the workplace they're gonna have to deal with all kinds of shit. They should stand up for themsleves when there is a real issue - I don't think this is one.
Last edit: 23 Jan 2012 13:26 by scissors.
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23 Jan 2012 14:20 #113857 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Re: Too Violent
This is third grade so let's leap to the conclusion Richard II isn't on the reading list.

I'm not questioning her professionalism or ability to teach. And I think if she had wanted him to read on other subjects she would have sent message home that he needs to read on other subjects. I think the issue is the nature of the subject matter. This isn't a crisis, but it means I need to find something else and likely Magic The Gathering and Skylanders aren't going to look a whole lot better.

My other son his age did a project on a fiction book where among other things the lead character made a play sword out of two pieces of wood glued together. So we included that in the 'treasure chest' that he turned in along with half a dozen other items. The 12" wood sword was removed from the project "for safety." It was made out of 1x1s so you couldn't even poke someone in the eye with it but I think the issue is that it represented a sword. If we had written "sword" on a potato I think they'd have pulled it.

I think the heart of this is a zero-tolerance policy that provides legal cover for the school district. If that is indeed the case the teacher may have limited options. The question that remains is to what degree she's internalized the policy vs trying to live within it. We had a terrible time getting the boy settled with this teacher in the fall and I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't getting more scrutiny because of it. Last year's teacher made this kind of thing work. She adjusted assignments and my boy thrived. This year that appears to be out of reach.

S.

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23 Jan 2012 14:25 #113858 by SuperflyPete
Replied by SuperflyPete on topic Re: Too Violent
I have a bunch of teachers and professors in my family; I get what you're saying. Teachers do get the shitty end of the stick quite a bit. That being said, they put themselves in this position all too often.

By defining what constitutes art or LITERATURE, you put yourself right in the crosshairs.

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23 Jan 2012 14:53 - 23 Jan 2012 14:59 #113866 by scissors
Replied by scissors on topic Re: Too Violent
EDIT: Nevermind, just saw Sag's post.

I don't think I'm putting myself into the corss-hairs though :)
Last edit: 23 Jan 2012 14:59 by scissors.

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23 Jan 2012 14:58 #113867 by ubarose
Replied by ubarose on topic Re: Too Violent

SuperflyTNT wrote: By defining what constitutes art or LITERATURE, you put yourself right in the crosshairs.


Regardless of what any one person thinks constitutes literature, the fact remains that by the 6th or 7th grade most students in the US are going to be handed a novel that was picked by a state, town or school curriculum committee, and be expected to write a well formed essay with a thesis statement and supporting evidence. Students that haven't been exposed to a variety of different types of narrative styles are going to be at a disadvantage. Elementary teachers have the responsibility of providing the foundation for future education. That means getting their students to read and appreciate novels (or chapter books as the kids call them).
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23 Jan 2012 15:06 - 23 Jan 2012 15:17 #113868 by scissors
Replied by scissors on topic Re: Too Violent

ubarose wrote: Elementary teachers have the responsibility of providing the foundation for future education. That means getting their students to read and appreciate novels (or chapter books as the kids call them).


This is exactly what I was thinking about the whole time.

In high school, if left to my own devices there's tons of important stuff I wouldn't have read or only read much later and been much 'poorer' for it . Hell, I never forgot how we were exposed to harold Pinter's writing and much more besides in Grade 10 because we had an excellent English/drama teacher who cared. Good or great teachers try to expand kids' horizons.
Last edit: 23 Jan 2012 15:17 by scissors.

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23 Jan 2012 15:18 #113871 by Bullwinkle
Replied by Bullwinkle on topic Re: Too Violent
There are two different points being discussed in this thread. The one scissors brought up, and ubarose expanded upon, about the responsibility of a teacher to expand a student's knowledge and skill, is not (I think) being questioned. As Sag has made clear, it's also not the point.

This is, flat out, an individual using her power to suppress (and possibly shame out of existence) a thing she doesn't like. It is possible that the teacher feels constrained by some zero-tolerance policy, but it's more likely that she simply doesn't like it. (And frankly, ZTPs are generally about things people simply don't like, anyway.) It should be apparent to anyone dealing with the school system that many teachers use their position to enforce their political/moral/whatever-you-want-to-call-it views. And I'll bet all the money in my pockets against all the money in your pockets that that's what this is.

At any rate, Sag has a practical problem which needs solving. Using this as a teachable moment has value, but I'd personally make sure the kid understands that just because some people in authority don't like a thing doesn't make it wrong. As for the teacher herself, there's not much you can do except go to her with things you think your son might like and get her approval beforehand. That discussion will also clarify why she's doing what she is.
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23 Jan 2012 15:23 #113872 by SuperflyPete
Replied by SuperflyPete on topic Re: Too Violent

Bullwinkle wrote: Using this as a teachable moment has value, but I'd personally make sure the kid understands that just because some people in authority don't like a thing doesn't make it wrong.


Or, alternatively, introduce him to Loter, who EMBODIES this principle. I mean, a guy who has pink wine in one hand, a microphone in the other, wearing a pink tank top about "All the boys love me" while bottomless AND in the process of marrying a gay couple....that's the man for this job. :)

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23 Jan 2012 15:34 #113874 by scissors
Replied by scissors on topic Re: Too Violent
I get what you're saying Bullwinkle but if it the teacher is really someone as petty and pushing her own agenda as blatantly as you suggest, I'd walk away from it...

I had a teacher like that too once and it was lose-lose for me :( It's nothing pleasant when you can feel that their personal biases, politics whatever are intruding over professionalism... but I wouldn't pursue it to the end. I more or less successfulyl manipulated my parents into taking my side against her... and I sure as hell didn't 'win' - she was a vengeful person (the other side of the coin of some of the great professional teachers I had later). I realise they are out there!

I would certainly tell the child that it's not wrong but that the person is setting out certain requirments that simply don't include your favourite books. He has to grin and bear it and use his own time to pursue the things he likes - I just don't see any other solution.

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23 Jan 2012 15:39 #113876 by Mr. White
Replied by Mr. White on topic Re: Too Violent
From what we know, I think uba and scissors have it right. It sounds more like the teacher is trying to diversify the young man's reading rather than squash something she doesn't like.

From the OP:
"My boy just came home to tell me that his teacher told him he could no longer do reading reports on his Warhammer 40K codex, which is one of things we've been able to get him to read."

If a student was working on their third or fourth paper on the 2004 Boston Red Sox, I'd expect the same behavior. Time to move on a bit with other book reports.
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23 Jan 2012 15:57 #113879 by Bullwinkle
Replied by Bullwinkle on topic Re: Too Violent

Jeff White wrote: From what we know, I think uba and scissors have it right. It sounds more like the teacher is trying to diversify the young man's reading rather than squash something she doesn't like.

From the OP:
"My boy just came home to tell me that his teacher told him he could no longer do reading reports on his Warhammer 40K codex, which is one of things we've been able to get him to read."

You conveniently cut out the actual reason, which Sag stated right after your quote:

Sagrilarus wrote: My boy just came home to tell me that his teacher told him he could no longer do reading reports on his Warhammer 40K codex, which is one of things we've been able to get him to read. Too violent.

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23 Jan 2012 16:14 #113881 by ubarose
Replied by ubarose on topic Re: Too Violent

Bullwinkle wrote: There are two different points being discussed in this thread. The one scissors brought up, and ubarose expanded upon, about the responsibility of a teacher to expand a student's knowledge and skill, is not (I think) being questioned. As Sag has made clear, it's also not the point.

This is, flat out, an individual using her power to suppress (and possibly shame out of existence) a thing she doesn't like. It is possible that the teacher feels constrained by some zero-tolerance policy, but it's more likely that she simply doesn't like it. (And frankly, ZTPs are generally about things people simply don't like, anyway.) It should be apparent to anyone dealing with the school system that many teachers use their position to enforce their political/moral/whatever-you-want-to-call-it views. And I'll bet all the money in my pockets against all the money in your pockets that that's what this is.

At any rate, Sag has a practical problem which needs solving. Using this as a teachable moment has value, but I'd personally make sure the kid understands that just because some people in authority don't like a thing doesn't make it wrong. As for the teacher herself, there's not much you can do except go to her with things you think your son might like and get her approval beforehand. That discussion will also clarify why she's doing what she is.


I agree with everything you say here. Also, I am too easily baited by 'who has the right to define what is literature' type statements.

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