The daily musings of a substitute teacher in East Central Illinois.


Today was the last day of my week-long assignment as a 6th grade Language Arts teacher in Mahomet. It was an excellent conclusion to a wonderful week, even if I did have two girls accuse me of a being a terrible, mean, evil person.

Perhaps I should explain. As you may recall, we had started watching the movie Hachi yesterday and finished it today. The students had just finished reading the book, or, rather, just finished hearing the book read to them, and were thus familiar with the story. You would think that they would understand that the movie, inspired by the book, would have a similar, if not identical ending.

Apparently such a thought would be incorrect.

There were a number of students in each of my three LA classes that were greatly saddened by the ending. There was crying amongst the girls and the boys–in fact, my third class had more boys crying than girls! But it was the first class that brought for the accusation of being evil. I learned today that the biggest difference between a film and a book is that sad things in books are much more difficult to internalise than sad things in movies for the simple fact that, no matter how vivid your imagination, you can’t see the sad things in books the way you do in film.

And so it was that two girls were crying for almost half an hour, and then accused me of being a terrible, mean, evil person. I pointed out that it wasn’t my idea for them to read the book and watch the movie, but that was no excuse; at least, not to them. I also pointed out that they already knew the ending, so I didn’t see why they were so upset. Alas, to no avail. Fortunately, though, my wrap up activity was fun enough to distract them from their sudden hatred of me and, by the end of the day, they were back to loving me.

The wrap up activity involved the class dividing into three groups. One group identified elements of the book Hachiko Waits that were not found in the film Hachi. The second group did the opposite. The third group had to identify elements shared by both the book and the film. It went really well, and students in all three classes found different elements to discuss. Within the classes, they shared ideas with each other and supported one another’s efforts to fulfill the assignment. After reviewing the answers, I asked the students to tell me what their plans for Spring Break were. Some are staying in town, some are traveling to other parts of the state, many are going to different states. Many, but, sadly, not all, will be doing at lest some reading over the break.

Me, I will be applying for full-time jobs, writing book reviews, contemplating more my philosophy of education, updating my other much neglected blog, and watching The X-Files on Netflix. All while wearing my pajamas as much as possible. I’ll try to update during the break, but I may not update every day. We’ll see.

Regardless, I hope that those who have a Spring Break (or Easter holidays) have a wonderful time!


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