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What I’m teaching these days…

August 22, 2008

That’s me right there doing a dramatic reading of “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe.  I dressed up in all black, put on some eye liner, carried a big butcher knife (with a very dull blade for you safety conscious people), played some eerie music in the background and pretended to be a madman as I read.  It was so much fun!!

In any case, this year I am teaching my second year of high school English (that’s right 10th, 11th, and 12th Grade!!) at a school in Nonthaburi, Thailand.  Now, this is my second year of teaching, and I can hardly call last year teaching, so I’m still new at this whole thing.  But, I must say, I really enjoy teaching literature to high school students most of the time. 

In any case, I wanted to give an update on what I actually AM teaching these days (hence the title).  Because I did such a horrible job last year, I’m reteaching a lot of the things I should have covered better.  This school is still a young school, and it’s a place where there is a high turnover rate for teachers.  So often teachers come in and don’t really have a foundation for what they want to teach or how to teach it.  My goal for this year is to have the entire 10th grade planned out in terms of units.  However, as of right now I’m teaching the same thing to all three classes, because they didn’t learn it last year.

The unit we are on right now is short stories.  You remember those right?  This is standard for 9th grade in America, but as high school starts in 10th grade in Thailand, that’s where I begin.  Here are the short stories we have covered and are covering.  See if you remember any of them!

1. “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe.  It’s the story of a mad man who murders an old man, chops up his body and hides hit as the “perfect” murder.  However, when the police come to investigate, he is so parnoid about the beating of the hold man’s heart, that he claims to hear, that he turns himself in.  A fun read.

2.  “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.  I remember this one vividly from high school.  A town holds an annual lottery, but as you read you are aware that the people feel very uncomfortable with it.  That’s because the winner (man, woman, or child) gets stoned!  It’s quite the twist, and it has a lot to say about blindly following tradition.

3.  “The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty.  It’s the story of two snipers battling in a civil war in Dublin, Ireland.  It’s an intense battle, but one sniper finally kills the other.  He goes to see the identiy and discovers that it his his brother. 

Some others are “The Necklace,” “Lamb to the Slaugther,” “The Lottery Ticket,” “All Summer in a Day,” and “The Scarlet Ibis.”  All of these are great reads and very good at highlighting certain literary elements and devices.

We are obviously covering elements such as plot, setting, mood, tone, characterization, theme, symbolism, etc.  The hardest thing we are working on are analytical paragraphs.   These are persuasive paragraphs that analyzes a certain element or idea within the story in terms of how it affects the entire story or our understanding.  It’s challenging but rewarding when the come up with their own ideas.

Anyway, I  know this will be incredibly boring for non-teachers.  But maybe some of you back home are interested in what exactly I do teach…so there ya go!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. bethann permalink
    August 22, 2008 6:24

    hey jonathan!
    that is hilarious, props to you for that. well, guess what? I got put in a mentorship program at school where i am assisting my 11th grade lit teacher! I think ive thrown away the idea of nursing and i really want to go into education, but in elementary school with kids like ethan, and eva!
    So you need to give me a heads up on what teaching is like 🙂

    I miss you, love you.
    great blog.

  2. jonathangroover permalink*
    August 23, 2008 12:03

    That’s great! I think you would make a great elementary school teacher! So go for it. If I start my masters of teaching I will let you know how it goes. Miss and love you too!

  3. Hannah permalink
    August 23, 2008 7:14

    Hi Jonathan,

    I stumbled across your blog on the internet and found myself absorbed in your posts. I just moved to Budapest to teach a few weeks ago. I can relate to some of the things you shared, but I was also very encouraged by your insights and wanted you to know that.

    Your love for the Lord is evident, keep praising Him with your life!


  4. August 24, 2008 9:52

    Would you like to do mock teaching for the SAT writing class at Elite when you have time? I will consider if you are interested, but just to let you know that the weekends will no longer for almost the whole year.

  5. jonathangroover permalink*
    August 25, 2008 8:17


    Thanks so much for taking the time to read! It means a lot that you’ve enjoyed the posts. I hope that school goes well for you in Budapest. Teaching ESL as a Christian is difficult but rewarding. Thanks for your encouragement and for stopping by. Let me know if I can help in any way.


    Thanks for the invite. I’m not sure I can at this point with seminary and all. My weekends are already taken up. 🙂

  6. Jamie permalink
    August 25, 2008 9:08

    Cool. I remember the first two. Sounds like you’re doing a great job!

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