Salaam and Walaikum have been joined by “Bob”, who is in Walaikum’s class. He arrived last week, and happily greeted the other two with a non-commital grunt (but it seems unkind to address him as “urgh”). Having all three in the same class is working out beautifully; they each have different strengths, and they seem to realise this. When they stopped working on the essays and asking questions, and started discussing the literature, I just sat back and watched. When they looked like they were getting stuck, I threw in a thought or a question, and they started right up again.
I was particularly proud of Salaam, who is nowhere near as articulate as Walaikum or Bob, yet held his own in the discussion. (There may be something to say for having same age/same sex classrooms, in that the weaker ones may feel more comfortable and therefore learn more through participating… may the deities of alternative education forgive me.)
What fascinated me about the last discussion was when they were trying to decide which characters from which texts they would compare in their essays. They’ve been given Lord of the Flies, Macbeth, and Death of a Salesman, and must discuss the personal demons of the characters. Walaikum went first, deciding on Jack, Macbeth and Willy Loman, and how their personal demons are their undoing. After a moment silence, Bob noted he probably wouldn’t do that, because Jack doesn’t have any personal demons left unconquered, and he doesn’t come undone. Salaam agreed, citing Jack’s stereotypical character towards the end of the novel. Walaikum blushed; he didn’t defend his position, nor did he admit a change of mind. Instead, he blustered something about being wrong once again, and “okay, are you guys happy now?”
Ode magazine published an article called In Praise of Failure in their October issue; it articulated my general thoughts about failure. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not fond of making mistakes, but there is something truly absurd in assuming one should never make an error, particularly with something so whimsical as English literature. If you recall, Walaikum has an entirely acceptable average (he’s up to a 93% in English). I’m toying with the idea of giving him a copy of the essay, despite what it may do to his ego.
I wait impatiently for the triplets’ time slot, now.