Everyone in the classroom came to the book with different life experiences, yet in this odd, exhausting, strange, compelling book (or as one student called it, “this trippy-ass book”), we found a place to connect. To my surprise, more than half of my class completed the course (an unusual statistic for pre-trial facilities). Many of them enjoyed the book enough to read ahead.
Each session I learn more about being fully present as an instructor. Reflecting on each meeting with my co-teacher Kaitlin Shirley has allowed us both to identify practices that work well, and adapt to the needs and interests of our students, each of whom have different goals. Despite those differences, I have seen the text become a meeting place that fosters human connection.
One student read aloud Lady Macbeth’s “Unsex me now” monologue and got appreciative gasps and sighs from around the class, punctuated with another student offering perhaps the best three-word summary of the speech possible: “That was raw.” We’re learning together, but we’re never short on things to discuss.
My co-teacher, Nina Cline, encouraged the students to ”complicate” their definition of good and bad, and I realized that I needed to do the same. Reading World Literature has given both the students and me a chance to challenge our biases, and I look forward to seeing where the rest of our class takes us!