I found several blogspheres today that belonged to frustrated teachers. It's a wonderful asset for me because almost all of them talk about dealing with obnoxious students, domineering principles, and parents who object to the novels they teach (I'm sure that will happen to me every semester). I'm writing a paper tonight to persuade the other people in my class (almost all are already teachers) to include "The House of the Scorpion" either in their classroom library or, preferably, in their lessons plans. One blogger talked about dealing with a mother of a student who objected to this novel because she thought it was "trash." The teacher decided to avoid confrontation and assigned the student a different novel but the student had to do a lot of work on her own since the rest of the class was studying "Scorpion." That's absolutely ridiculous to me. I am glad that some parents take an interest in their children's education, but seriously, the teachers were hired to teach! If a parent objects all the time I think they should just stick their kids in homeschool. Then they can control their kids as much as they want.
Now I'm not saying that I think children should read novels with adult themes. It's okay to censor -- everyone censors. But this is a CHILDREN'S novel. and it won three prestigious awards! and it definitely qualifies for capital L literature. And I will teach it if I teach anywhere from 6th to 10th grade. I have no idea what I'll do when I'm questioned, rebuked, and censored.
On this same frustrated note... on my way to work I passed a lady who is known for her comments in class. It makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one who has been subjected to her wrath. Feeling that way is probably not a good thing, but it's true. So -- In my creative writing class where I had to write the first three chapters or so of my novel, this lady tells the entire class that my story is "vulgar" and since my story happens to be a memoir, I too am "vulgar." OOOOOOOOkay. Warning - I'm about to say something mean. I remember that day she wore bright fushia everything - even pantyhose and lipstick. I think that's vulgar.