ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 94, Thursday, February 7, 2008
I realized today, thinking back, that Ronaldo nearly always comes to class with information found in the end notes of Great Expectations. I don't think anyone else in the class takes the time to check the notes, which makes his effort especially impressive. In last night's chapter, a 'rush light' was mentioned, and when I asked the class if anyone knew what that was, Ronaldo immediately offered extensive information on the subject, which he had gleaned from a lengthy end note. He is truly becoming an erudite reader of Dickens.
I was impressed when Jameer -- who has made great strides as a serious student of English -- said to the class during our Great Expectations discussion, "I'm really confused. I'm not sure exactly what happened in this chapter." I thought it took courage for him to admit that to his classmates. Perhaps he has arrived at the point where he knows he can be an earnest and successful student, and therefore it doesn't bother him to admit ignorance in some areas. After all, it takes a certain amount of self-assurance to acknowledge our weaknesses.
Veronica is becoming a more remarkable student each week -- so devoted to being a consummate reader and writer. Today she eagerly told me she had found an appositive in last night's Great Expectations chapter. I found it surprising and gratifying that a student would go to the trouble to find an intricate writing technique in a book as dense and enigmatic as this novel. I asked her to read the sentence containing the appositive to the class, and she did with great spirit and satisfaction.