Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Iran in the 1980s

Thanks to this blog, people often ask me questions about my Creative Reading class. One thing I have noticed is that people outside the education business tend to . . . overestimate my students' level of engagement with the material. Sure, some of them really get into it, and pay attention in class, do a great job analyzing the material. But in any class, in any school, you're going to have students who don't care so much. The important thing is not to let yourself get too discouraged by those students.

Today we had our first Persepolis quiz. Persepolis, as I have mentioned in previous posts, is about a girl growing up in Iran in the 1980s. This is how I normally describe the book--a girl growing up in Iran in the 1980s. Before we started it, I told the class that they would be reading a book about a girl growing up in Iran in the 1980s, and that to understand it better they would need to know a thing or two about Iran. We went to the computer lab for a day and they researched Iran, particularly Iran in the 1980s. Then we started reading the book, the first line of which is "This is me when I was ten years old. This was in 1980." Since then we've spent weeks reading about life in Iran before and after the revolution, about the history of Iran, the culture of Iran . . . you get the idea. So today, on the quiz over the first half of Persepolis, the second question was, "In what country is Persepolis set? What decade?"

This was an open book quiz. When a student called me over, pointed to that question, and said, "I can't find this one," I have to admit, for a moment I felt defeated. If I haven't even been able to convey that this is a book about a girl growing up in Iran in the 1980s . . . man, that's disappointing.

The good news is that most of the class got that question right. And that is what I must focus on; most of them got it right.

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