Friday, November 30, 2007

Day 57, November 28, 2007

Today in one of the 9th grade classes, we had a conversation about a character in Great Expectations who has one personality for his role as a lawyer, and a totally different personality for his role, at his peaceful home in the country, as gentleman farmer and caretaker for his elderly father. The kids noted that he seems to change perceptibly as he walks home from the city to the country, his facial features actually growing visibly softer the nearer he gets to home. At his office in London, he is a strict and obsessive attorney, but at his "castle" in the woods he is utterly relaxed and pleasant. One student astutely remarked that it's rather like what kids have to do: be serious students when they're in the classroom, but wild and free teen-agers on the playground and at home. They have to put off one role and put on another as they go from one area of their lives to another. We have occasionally discussed this in English class -- the fact that I expect students to behave with poise and dignity the minute they walk into my room. They might be acting like silly comedians out in the hall, but when they open my door to enter, they have to quickly become serious English students. What Mr. Wemmick does in Great Expectations is little different from what my students have to do every day, and I think the kids saw that during today's discussion.

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