Picture was taken from this website.
One of the best decisions in my teaching career was to teach The Catcher In The Rye. I know that a lot of people find it outdated. What is interesting though, I am all down for bringing new, modern pieces into the classroom. I have a huge internal conflict about whether to teach Shakespeare or not (I guess, after these words I will have my special place in hell for English teachers). We read experimental short stories and poems. But with this book, the connection that I see between my students and Holden is instant. Ok, maybe not instant, the first chapter is pretty boring, but it does happen 100% of the time.
I found some very interesting lesson plans here and here, added my own materials, and voila! A great unit on helping teenagers reflect on themselves, talk about their own problems, recognize the signs and symptoms of depression is ready. Today after finishing the novel, I asked them to evaluate the book without being afraid to hurt my feelings 🙂 I do understand that we are all different, and we like different things, plus they are teenagers who, generally, are not thrilled to read something bigger than 2 pages and without pictures. Again, as long as they can explain to me why they didn’t like the book, I am totally fine with that. Anyway, on a scale of 1 to 10 I got a couple of 5, one 6, and then the rest of the class said 8 or 10. They told me that they learned to talk about sex without giggling, that they recognized some of the patterns of their own behaviour, that they started understanding themselves better. I was in Heaven made specially for English teachers.
By the way, I am starting Othello tomorrow.