In my literature class this quarter, we’re reading monster books — Frankenstein, Dracula, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. It’s a learning community combining English 101 (college composition) with an introduction to literature. Fifty-five students, many of them Running Start (that is, High School) students. It’s been a slog. I keep reminding myself that even when I assign “great” literature, my students tend not to be English majors, and they are often non-readers.
A long time ago, when my children were small, I read a book called Kids Are Worth It by Barbara Colorosa. The title says it all — even when your children misbehave, don’t listen, embarass you by refusing to come out of the big climbing tunnel in McDonalds, they’re still perfectly good little human beings experimenting with what works for them. It’s not personal, Mom or Dad. It’s just what kids do.
Students, too. Even when they gripe about the books I assign. Even when they plagiarize the paper on Wuthering Heights. Even when they check their smart phones all through class and think I don’t see them.
We talked in class today about how one of the things an author might be dramatizing by writing about a vampire or another undead sort is how hard it is to be human.
So, just for the record, I want to tell you that students are worth it, even when they’re monsters. And so am I.