Obligations Blow

It's a sun. And it's reading. So clever. [source]
For anyone that's been in an Honors, AP, or IB class in high school it's always assumed that there will be summer reading. Personally, I was always initially excited ("Jane Eyre and 100 questions? No problem, plenty of time, it'll be fun") and then by the end of July pretty pissed ("what the hell kind of teacher expects us to read this effing long novel and answer all these questions? Does he not have a life?"). Now, as an AP and IB teacher I was able to get my revenge, assigning the AP kids one book and the IB kids three (ha! take that!). And as if the reading weren't enough, they had some essays and other assignments to go with it. 

Unfortunately, this means I now have summer work as well. 

But you love reading! And I'm sure you've read these before!

I do love reading, when it doesn't feel like an obligation. And I have actually only read one of the four books assigned (the selections are department/program choices, so I didn't just randomly pull books out of my ass to assign to the kids). I've read one so far, How to Read Literature Like a Professor, but still need to read Thank You For Arguing (have never read it), Antigone (read in tenth grade), and Master Harold and the Boys (never read). The three I haven't read are all short and I'm sure they're good- I just can't get myself to do it.

I've always had issues with feeling obligated to do something. As soon as I feel forced I become resentful, even if the task at hand is something relatively painless. Baby showers? Pout central. Family gatherings that I "have to" go to? Don't wanna. Races that I signed up way too far in advance for? Irritation inducing.* The older I get the less willing I am to spend my life doing things that I don't want to do- time is a precious commodity, thankyouverymuch. Unfortunately, it's not always that easy. Yeah, you can shoot down a few family dinners, blow off some errands, avoid phone calls, but eventually you have to put on your big kind undies and man up. Like when it comes to doing your summer homework. 

So why assign it? If the kids hate it and the teacher even puts it off, why bother? The quick answer is that precious commodity time- we simply don't have enough school days to cover all the necessary material. There's also the issue of keeping the kids at least slightly academically engaged while they are off, as well as helping them establish some sort of foundation for the course they're about to take. I also appreciate the responsibility factor- as a teacher I'll know the first day who's on top of their work and who is not. 

I still have three weeks. I don't want to read everything early and forget it all before I go back. Right?

* Speaking of races... I'm signed up for the Disneyland Half Marathon on September 2 and have decided to not run it. If anyone wants to buy my bib, let me know!  

1 comment:

  1. As the mother of 3 teens with plenty of summer reading to do, thank you for assigning the reading! I used to require my kids to read in the summer and now the teachers are the "bad guys"! haha

    What does IB stand for?