A humorous look at the little things in life

Memories of high school English and hints for teachers of teens June 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — ashleyolsonrosen @ 1:23 am

Recommended wine for today’s entry: Cono Sur Dry Riesling from Chile. I had this recently, and as I am not at all a fan of regular rieslings, I was very pleasantly surprised with this wine. It is quite dry but flavorful and reasonably priced. I couldn’t find the dry riesling at my local wine store, but bought a bottle of the chardonnay to try. Will report back.

What are your memories of high school English class? A great novel that illuminated the meaning of life? A paper that you labored over and edited and edited and finally got an A? Here is mine:

Announcement: Will all members of the Beta Club please report to the cafeteria at this time.

(After much shuffling and collecting of books)Mrs. B: Are you serious? You’re still not in Beta Club?

Me: No. And before you ask, not National Honor Society either. It’s not looking good. Wanna play Heads Up 7-Up?

Mrs. B: I would have a free period every Tuesday if you could just get in those clubs. Do you do your homework?

Me: Yep. Hey, you don’t eat meat do you? Because remember what you told me about Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle? Well, I haven’t eaten meat since …

Mrs. B: OK, Heads Up 7 Up it is. But like I told you last week, it’s not that fun with two people.

So we were pretty tight, as you can see. Mrs. B was one of those really smart but slightly naive people that are totally hysterical. Every morning, some boy in the class would draw a cartoon version of a man – let’s call it an aroused man – in profile on the chalkboard. Every single morning. Then Mrs. B would stand in front of the board and lecture  — earnestly — about serious topics, such as Raskolnikov’s unfathomable guilt in Crime and Punishment, all the while with portions of the little chalk man on the board protruding from her side. Over time, the game was apparently to draw it at just the right height that the protrusion was from the side of her head.

When the time came to sign yearbooks, apparently Mrs. B thought she had Debbie M’s book. Here I might add that I loved Debbie M, she was ten times smarter than me and is now in the ministry. So this is what Ms. B wrote: Debbie – I have certainly enjoyed having an excellent student like you in class this year – you may have let yourself be influenced – a little – by the questionable company you sit amongst (that would be me) – but it has been fine knowing you. 

OK, so when I pointed out to the woman that she had the wrong yearbook, she put a nice clean X through that and wrote: Dear Ashley – ignore all of the below. Having you in class has been catalystic. I am sure you will drive all the boys insane in college. There must be something good about eating vegetables.  Um, did she forget the “excellent student” part on mine? What about the “fine knowing you?” 

So obviously, I could never teach English. Or anything else. But I do have a theory that it is important to work with the material that is already in a teen’s mind. I have come up with a lesson plan that would have resonated with every one of those students.

 So, here’s my lesson on literary devices and examples that will stick in an 18-year-old’s head: 

Alliteration (words with similar beginning sounds): Drunk and disorderly doesn’t begin to describe David.

Onomotapea: (words that sound like what they’re describing): Clink clink slurp thunk thunk splat crash went Ted and his vodka tonic down the stairs.

Assonance: (words with same vowel sounds): Oops, Susie has droopy boobies.

Consonance: (similar to alliteration but with the similarities falling anywhere but the beginning of the words): Yikes, come quick, the back seat is slick with puke.

Simile (comparison using “like” or “as”): After “lunch with the girls,” his mom swerved through carpool line like a barrel racer at the rodeo.

Metaphor (comparison without “like” or “as”): On spring break in Cancun, we were swimming in a pale green sea surrounded by a crescent of salt with a lime umbrella. 

I know Ms. B would be proud that I was paying attention. And I know she wouldn’t admit it, but I think she had fun on Beta Club days, too.


4 Responses to “Memories of high school English and hints for teachers of teens”

  1. cebette Says:

    Too funny! I hardly remember anything about high school and I didn’t go to nearly as many keggers as you did…

  2. GiantsGirl Says:

    This one was hilarious!! I loved your lesson. Fits perfectly.

  3. Hannah Says:

    This lesson would have not only made my life in AP English thirty times funnier but maybe I would have done better on that damn test too…

  4. Ted Says:

    As one who dabbles a little in cartooning myself, I can only note how lucky you were to have someone tasteful like the boy mentioned to entertain the class and enhance the educational value of the literature you were exploring during these formative years.

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