If I can't be trusted to choose texts, how can I be trusted with children?
Dear Sir or Madam,
Greetings! My name is Marynn, and I pour myself every day into the challenge of guiding my students through a world of both fictional and factual literature. Every class meeting is an adventure, and almost every day I am asked to comply with a new set of regulations, rules, or procedures "to benefit the students." I (usually) do as I'm told, provided that I can see how these regulations do, in fact, help my kids.
This rule will not help.
Literature is written by human beings, and human beings are flawed, fallible creatures. Until we cease to be this way, our literature will reflect the state of our souls. While I shield my students as much as is possible from the truly harmful and/or traumatic facts of human behavior on planet Earth, I refuse to lie to them, and I refuse to allow over-anxious parents to dictate my every move and literature selection. In my classroom, a student (or parent) may always elect to study different material if they truly feel so inclined. Doing so, however, excludes that student from the communal learning experience of his peers, and creates an incredible strain upon my resources and time. Do I create another curriculum specifically to guide that one student? Do I allow him to explore on his own, with little or no guidance from me? How do I tie his learning back to the goals being explored by the other English classes in the building?
It is better, by far, for my students and their parents to trust me and my judgement when possible, and for them to direct their own paths when impossible. The literature that I teach has been whittled down from hundreds, even thousands, of options for a reason. Please allow me to prove why.
Please do not heap another restriction upon my head, this one nearly impossible to fully achieve. I will not adhere to it. I will not be able to do so.