It's a bad teaching week. I asked my students to name some American authors and after Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, and Robert Frost (who they were not sure was American), they had nothing.
I feel pretty shelled out. I feel like the expectations I have for students are increasing while their ability to meet them is waning. Shouldn't they be able to reference Hemingway? We do, after all, live in Michigan. I didn't even suggest that they should have read Hemingway, only that they should be able to put him in a list of American authors.
I'm confused and pissed off and worried that I am not the teacher I thought I was. And more than that, I'm worried that the teacher I am is anachronistic in an education system which does not require the reading of Shakespeare or Fitzgerald or Whitman (because if it was assigned in high school, "No one would read it.") I do not believe my students should want to get published or that they should be able to explicate a poem by Dickinson or even know what the word explicate means. But I do believe they should have heard of Emily Dickinson and they should have some awareness of her as a poet in America.
This is, I am learning, far too much to ask. I think I'll just quit and join the Grand Raggedy Roller Girls. I need to express my anger in more positive and apparently useful ways.