Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chapter 11 & 12: The Water Is Wide

“…I tried to teach them to embrace life openly, to reflect upon its mysteries, rejoice in its surprises, and to reject its cruelties. Like other teachers I failed. Teaching is a record of failures. But the glory of teaching is in the attempt”. 
 What Pat Conroy did that no other teacher on the island ever cared to do was attempt to teach the children. He wanted to provide them with the same opportunities that other children had. These last two chapters were the most interesting to me because I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with Conroy. I didn’t know if he was going to get fired or if he was going to get to stay on the island. While on the island Conroy done so much for the kids at the Yamacraw School and nobody seemed to care what an impact he had been. He was able to convince some of the students to go to a camp that they have never been too and if it had not been for him probably would never go. He done so much for this group of students yet those over him didn’t want him to teach anymore on the island. They took away the one person that believed in the students and wanted better for them all because he didn’t do what they wanted him to do. I think that they were afraid that the children would actually believe that they could be something greater than the island offered them and they didn’t want that happening simply because they were colored. Conroy sacrificed a lot of things to be able to teach on the island and Bennington and Piedmont just used that against him when they fired him. They knew that they wouldn’t find another teacher that would undergo the conditions that he endured to teach the children on the island. Rather than firing him they should have been offering him a raise to keep him on the island so that he could continue changing the lives of these children.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chapter 9 & 10: The Water Is Wide

“The one great knave that I hunted was boredom, and if I caught him lurking anywhere in the room, in the corners, by blackboards, behind the covers of books, or in glazed, anesthetized eyes, we went to something else quickly, shifted in mainstream, danced, sang, fought, or milked rats”.
 Conroy always wanted the students engaged in something. Unlike Mrs. Brown who insisted on “teaching the books”, he wanted the children on the island to remember the things that he taught them. He would have different people come in the classroom so that the students would know something about the outside world. One of the speakers was Conroy’s sister Carol that told about her childhood but the thing that the students enjoyed the most was when acted like a witch. The students thought that she was really a witch and asked all sorts of questions. The students learned a lot from the visitors that came in during the year. They were introduced to soccer and to a musician that had a hit song. I feel that this was the best thing that Conroy could do for the students because they hadn’t been learning anything before he became their teacher. Throwing out information and expecting them to grasp concept after concept isn’t going to work for them. Also in the reading the girls from the class stayed at Conroy’s house for Valentine’s Day. Conroy wanted to prepare these students for when they would leave the island and become part of life outside the island. The students were able to take a trip to the nation’s capital where they visited the monuments and museums that they had never seen before. This trip was a chance for them to experience what life was off the island. The trip was a success and all the students were able to go and live this experience.