Escaping books!

The books are trying to make an escape! Just found this in the bin in my bedroom…😳  The absolute horror on my face could not be descriAmber Walsh's photo.bed. While myself and Mr. Pound had a love/hate relationship during my time spent as a postmodern student in third year at university I would still rather that this quite expensive edition which has my frustrated underlining and notes etched inside did not end up in the refuse if I can help it! There was a stack of poetry books next to my bedroom bin waiting for our first day back at school – I like to show students that poetry, drama and novels exist in forms outside of their textbooks to bring life and variety to the introductory (and sometime proceeding classes – look at me! You’d swear I’d been teaching for years!) – However I think it may be time to add that stack of books back into the book shelf for safe keeping!

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New Year reading resolutions

I read my procrastination diatribe from last year in the last few days, this added to an overview of my Goodreads reading year has led me to the conclusion that I need to address my lack of reading for fear of literally being a hypocrite when I tell people I love books and reading. I’m an English teacher now (in training) and find myself in need of finding that majesty of reading my last post addressed so I can in good conscience stand before learners (their not students anymore apparently) and not feel a fraud. In my own defence last summer though I’d finished my English degree and should have been free to read whatever I wanted for the first time since I was about 12, I found myself with a list of books which could be taught to first year secondary school (middle school?) students. As I was going to be teaching that year group predominantly (I actually now teach second years also) and was unaware of which book would be chosen as this years text within my school (asking seemed monumental at the time the ridiculousness of which is evident now). In this way I read all of them and procrastinated between the reading of each because that was my want this summer. “Let’s put off everything I want to achieve this summer until I have to achieve it all in a whirlwind of anxiety”…there’s that procrastination again – who needs Hamlet when you have me! This means that the first 4 months of the year was filled with literary greats (for college), followed by 3 months of less monumental literary examples (for teaching) and the last 4 months was a barren wilderness of nothingness devoid of any stimulus but my many essays , class planning and lack of sleep.  So with that in mind, along with the fact I’m sick to death of not reading all the books I’m excited about and on the back of finishing my first book of the year by the 3rd of January here are some New Year reading resolutions.

 

  1. Read all of Shakespeare’s sonnets – my collection has 152ish if memory serves so using my poor mathematical skills that works out as 1 every 2-3 days. I’ve already read the first two in the allotted timeframes so this should be achievable once I stay on top of it.
  2. Read for pleasure not pressure – this will be achievable for the majority of the year I suspect. But will be challenging when I begin planning tutor/grinds classes I’m giving in the next 4 months and when planning for next years classes. But as my colleagues manage to do it, I’ll get there.
  3. Complete my goodreads challenge for the year – to achieve this I originally had it set at 10 but as this is ridiculous I changed it to 30. This should be manageable even with my hectic university department who refuse to accept that trainee teachers require sleep (oh sorry was my growing bitterness showing).
  4. Read the books I own – I won’t stop myself from treating myself as I have book vouchers which need to be used but I’ll try. Buying books was a pleasure I revoked from myself due to my student status but with grinds money coming in and those vouchers I think I can treat myself every so often once the books are being read.

I may add to these but I’m excited about these. Though they are basic, they are more structured than I usually go in for and a little more realistic than my mammoth post in 2014 (won’t be hard January posting is my forté!)

Speaking of that procrastination I’m writing this instead of an essay on the new oral element of the English curriculum…I’m actually my own worst enemy!!

Results

Early last Wednesday morning as you were all tucked up in bed, I like so many of my fellow students was pacing the floors, waiting for 9 o’clock when my leaving cert results to be released. Never before have I been so calm and so nervous at the same time. Most of the nerves you feel at that moment are the ones you think you’re supposed to have, you see your friends almost in tears beside you and think that you must also react in that way. But when the principal’s door opens and you’re summoned in to collect that ominous brown envelope, you don’t care how you were feeling moments before. I can only speak for myself, we each have our own reactions, but a strange calm came over me. I thought before hand that I would have a problem opening the envelope, that the nerves would get the better of me, but they didn’t. I opened it quickly, taking only a moment to remember the huge amount of work that I’d put into the exams and accepting, in advance, anything it might hold. But I didn’t have to worry, when I pulled out the form the most important grade was right there at the top…A1 in English…top grade. Not many are lucky enough to get it despite being good enough. I’m delighted but also grateful, grateful to myself for getting the work done, grateful to my mom for believing in me and grateful to my teacher who made me believe it was possible. To remember where I came from and the work that went into getting where I am today is a strange, wonderful thing, but it makes me believe that whatever I decide to do in the future will work, simply because I’m too stubborn to let it fail and because I’m surrounded by people who won’t let it happen.

My English Course Reading list is OUT!!!!!

Ok, so before I get ahead of myself, I technically I haven’t been accepted into college yet. The stressful experience of waiting for that acceptance letter will continue until the 20th of August. But I threw an e-mail off to the wonderful people at the school of english in the college I hope to attend anyway, asking beggging to be notified as soon as the reading list was published…and it’s arrived!! YAY!!

In first year English we take a general compulsory course and then specialise in year 2 and 3. For Drama we’re studying

  • The Bald Prima Donna – EugeneIonesco
  • Look Back in Anger – John Osbourne
  • The Caretaker – Harold Pinter
  • Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare

Scarily I haven’t read any of these, actually I haven’t heard of most of them (except obviously Shakespeare :P). I look forward to the challenge. I do wish we were doing a different Shakespeare play as while I haven’t read Romeo and Juliet, those I’ve spoken to don’t rate it as one of his greatest works. But then again it is Shakespeare, so I can’t imagine it’s going to be anything but a pleasure to explore in greater detail.

For Fiction we’re studying

  • The Picture of Dorian Gray – OscarWilde
  • Dubliners – James Joyce
  • Vilette – Charlotte Bronte
  • The Member of the Wedding – Carson McCullers

This group fairs a little better as I’ve either heard of or read all but McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding. I read The Picture of Dorian Gray a couple of months ago and adored it. I was in the middle of exams at the time so no doubt a lot of the messages and symbolism most likely went unnoticed but I loved what I did manage to catch and look forward to going through it with a fine tooth comb. 😛 I’m actually reading Dubliners at the moment. It’s…strange…but I’ll hold off further judgement until I get into it properly (after I finish Inheritance :().

There’s also a poetry class but I won’t know exactly what we’ll be studying until I get started. Last but not least WE’RE STUDYING OLD AND MIDDLE ENGLISH! Ok maybe, possibly, I shouldn’t be so excited to study this. I know more than one person has given me a funny look when I’ve mentioned that I can’t wait to study it but I can’t. My old English teacher did a little with us in a class before Christmas and myself and a friend of mine were absolutely hooked! (not that I’ve actually attempted to learn anymore but in my defence I was studying for other exams) I’m not great with languages, but still find them fascinating. I was even tempted to take a latin module in 1st year of college but thought better of it. I can’t wait to learn how English as we know it evolved through the ages from that in The Canterbury tales to Shakespearean to what we consider English today. We’re studying Beowulf and I’ve already been told to get the translation as fast as possible so I’ll definitely do that.

All in all I’m really excited to get started, if not a little apprehensive as well. I’m also going to be taking classes in Psychology, Archaeology and History in my 1st year. I hope to then continue on to get a History and English degree. I’ve loved the college I’ve applied to for years, ever since I visited it on an open day. I fell in love with the old stone buildings and the character that it exudes. What can I say it appealed to the historian in me. Fingers crossed I get that acceptance letter in the post.

If anyone has actually read any of the above, drop me a line. *Goes to hunt down copies of the aboves*

P.S I will most likely miss my weekly review on Monday as my Debs/prom is tomorrow and I won’t get a chance to finish anything by Monday, unless there’s a miracle (or it rains). I’ll hopefully get something posted by mid-week though my exam results are also being realeased Wednesday followed by that all important college acceptance letter so I’m not sure when I’ll next be online.

Au revoir!