I love English. I love literature. I love words. I love talking and I love writing. I love listening and reading too. I love languages and I love books. Communication is me.

I’m a senior examiner for a major exam board and I write educational resources. I also teach via the web and I love the internet sooooo much! I’m a born teacher and nothing makes me feel better than seeing others learning! You can find my website at http://www.english-tuition.weebly.com and find out more about me.

3 thoughts on “About

  1. I’m a 9th grade teacher of English. I teach two collaborative classes where special ed students are integrated in my college prep English class. I have been asked to teach Of Mice and Men this year, but I am really struggling. I spent my entire life protecting my disabled sister from people who wanted to discredit and devalue her. I can’t imagine teaching this novel to my 9th graders and helping them find some rational for George killing Lennie. I read your essay, and I would really appreciate some insight.
    Thank you.

    • It’s the alternative of the ‘booby hatch’. I have always compared it to The Green Mile in that way, and how John Coffee is treated. There’s no social care even for the elderly – there is no future for Candy as an old-timer just as much as there is only a life of institutionalisation for Lennie. The novel is written at a time of rampant eugenics, especially in California, and I would use it as an ‘in’ to talk about that. The Eugenics Archive has some horrific and horrible stuff. In that way, I talk about it in terms of global context. Hitler’s “Final Solution” was far from being an isolated country’s approach to “improving” the gene pool. Gatica is a great film to watch alongside that. I would open with the social history and take it from there. For me, I’d want to engage in some discussion about that. Lennie has killed Curley’s Wife, and whether it’s a plea of diminished responsibility or life in an institution, I see it as George’s attempt to help Lennie run free. His last conversation shows how the “Dream” has taken on the dimensions of paradise. I’m not sure where the Church would stand on Lennie’s entry to heaven, having killed a girl, but George and Slim (the moral voice of the novel) certainly don’t think that Lennie is responsible for his actions. But you are left with a pattern of escalation in which it is only getting worse, with being shot in the gut by Curley as one alternative, being caught by the authorities and facing the death penalty as another (and To Kill A Mockingbird is a perfect point of comparison) so George goes for the ‘humane’ approach, which Lennie actively solicits. The bit before George arrives on scene is crucial for showing Lennie’s deteriorating mental health.

      As for not teaching it to be ‘sensitive’ because of discussions about disability, I think it’s the best reason of all TO teach it – how society treats its “bindle stiffs, niggers and dum-dums” is exactly the conversation Steinbeck wanted us to have. If you teach this to classes with girls, minority groups, people with grandparents… it’s a very good view of how “the American Dream” is exclusive and how a society at that time treated its outsiders. Being an English teacher and having uncomfortable discussions about life is the joy of the subject and I don’t find it any more challenging than To Kill a Mockingbird, for example.

      Flowers for Algernon is a good way in as well.

      • By the way, I’ve always found it saddest that Curley’s Wife is arguably the one with least access to a future, a dream. Poor as it is, even Crooks has a place and security. But then I would say that, as I am a woman. How women are prostitutes or wives in the novel seems a very bleak depiction of society at that time.

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