“Rage —

14 January 2011 § 1 Comment

Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles…”

I do what it takes to get their attention. This would be very illegal at a public school. And for good reasons, I suppose.

I don’t actually own a sword. In fact, the collecting of “fantasy swords” and replicas has always seemed very strange to me. I found this one lying on top of a bookshelf in another classroom, and took it up one day to add a little pizazz to a reading of the Iliad. From then on, no reading was complete without my new “prop.”

With each successive reading, the boldness of my blade-brandishing increased. What started out as a simple visual aid, became something a bit more engaging as I broke down the fourth wall to bring the action of the Iliad straight to the kids.  The students seemed to enjoy ducking and dodging my swings as we read of Greeks and Trojans hacking limbs off each other. I could see it in their eyes. That certain look of almost real terror. They were really in the moment, and I was so proud of myself as a teacher.

Everything was going great. Class was intense and amazing. And then the complaints began.

Well first, one student got a little nick above her eyebrow.

But If she had been paying attention to the reading, she would have known that Achilles was about to cleave Iphition’s head in half, and would have been on her guard. “Let that be a lesson to you…” I said. “You wouldn’t last one minute on the Trojan plain with attention skills like that.”

But parents… oh brother. They can be so paranoid and unreasonable, right?

That particular family no longer sends their little princess to the school, and truthfully, our class is the better for it. Only hardened warriors in here. Oh, and I have started collecting fantasy swords now.


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