When in college- did you go against "the norm"?I was in collge during the early 90's and Bill Clinton was "it". He chose Maya Angelou for his inauguration. All of a sudden, everybody was into her....

When in college- did you go against "the norm"?

I was in collge during the early 90's and Bill Clinton was "it". He chose Maya Angelou for his inauguration. All of a sudden, everybody was into her. But I was NOT.

I have nothing against Maya. I simply am not her biggest fan. Yet, I got dissed and criticized for not liking her. My answer? "I do not HAVE to like her".

Has that ever happened to you with any other situation/author/book?

Asked on by M.P. Ossa

10 Answers

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copelmat | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

Like post #6 and #9, Victorian literature was a giant sleeping pill for me. Although I appreciate the use of literary devices and stylistic techniques, it was always a little too heavy-handed for my taste. Unfortunately, everyone else in my classes was enamored with Victorian novels--Middlemarch in particular--and I could just never muster the enthusiasm for them--novels or peers!

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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I had a professor who absolutely idolized Robert Browning. Maybe it was because I didn't care for her too much, but I just do not like Browning. His poems are so smarmy and are not as intellectual as some of the other Romantic poets. I don't care for Wordsworth and his daffodils either. Heck, I really don't "get" poetry!

Also, rather than execution, we need to sentence people on death row to read Billy Budd. That's cruel and unusual punishment!!!

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sboeman | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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I really never liked Jane Austen either, it just seemed too "girly" for me.  I really liked the dad, though, who tried to stay out of the picture and just wanted to read his books alone.  I was elated when the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came out just so I could read about zombies attacking those people.

I never much got into Faulkner much either (Absalom, Absalom! never seemed to end!), but I realize his importance and influence on American literature and culture.  I can teach my students about him even if I don't like him, I think.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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The Faulkner posts above made my mind jump to Hemingway.  I can't stand his novels, but love his short fiction.  I think I can only take the macho-man -- weak/evil/distracting woman in small doses.  I sometimes try to read For Whom the Bell Tolls or The Sun Also Rises, but I can't stick with it or care enough to finish -- and I have tried several times!  I keep thinking that maybe these would be books that would have a reasonable appeal to the boys in class, but I just can't do it.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Jane Austen has always been "trendy" for me.  It started in college.  When all the English majors were professing love relationships with her, I decided to get into Dostoevsky.

Then, when The Jane Austen Book Club (book and movie) came out, she just went over the edge.

Don't get wrong - I enjoyed her novels and could watch ALL of them that have been turned into movies on cable over and over again - but I just refuse to profess profound love for the woman.  Sadly, Jane Austen has become a cliche to me.  Isn't that terrible?  I mean, it wasn't her fault.

PS: I feel you on Maya Angelou too.  Oprah has killed that desire.

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teachertaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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When I was in university, I hated Victorian literature.  I took my one required class on it and never looked back.  Unlike missy575, I did much of my work in ethnic literature and loved it, still do.  But I have more of an appreciation now for Victorian lit--I wouldn't say I love it, but there are some titles that I like.  As I get older, I think it's interesting to see how my taste changes.

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MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Like #3 & #4, I've never been able to make the commitment to Faulkner. I'll also alienate people with my next choice: Charles Dickens. I know I should....but I just can't. Ever since reading Great Expectations, I just avoided him at every turn. So, guess what 2 authors are never on my lists?

I also agree that teaching what you like certainly helps in the classroom. For example, I'm teaching Wuthering Heights for the first time this year (chosen instead of Jane Eyre), and I have liked the novel since I first read it 10 years ago. Yet it's not something I feel my students will latch onto immediately. But I hope my own enthusiasm and excitement for the text will bring that out in them.

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drmonica | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

auntlori's post touched a nerve with me--I sincerely disliked reading Faulkner as an undergraduate English major. My classmates thought I was crazy. As a classroom teacher, I ignored any author who I didn't passionately love to read, and Faulkner was at the top of that list for American literature!

Going against the norm is not necessarily a bad thing. Particularly when it comes to classroom teaching, literature selections can make or break a course with regard to engaging reading choices. If the teacher is not herself excited about teaching a particular author or selection, how can it be expected that the students will be?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I've been very blessed to have taught for so many years in many  different school systems and been able generally to select what I wanted to teach.  One of the authors I've basically chosen to ignore is William Faulkner.  I know, I know--how could I do such a thing?  Well, it's as you have both said, I just don't feel any connection whatsoever to his novels.  There.  I said it.  I don't have to like his work, and I don't have to teach his novels.  So I don't.  Thanks for letting me get this off my chest! 

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I have struggled getting into the migration literature for several years. Chicano/Chicana literature specifically just speaks to a group I feel for, just cannot empathize with. I just didn't have the same experiences and cannot relate! I want to, because it would be right in literary circles to embrace multi-cultural literature to the nth degree, but I don't.

Do you ever notice how hard it is to sell something to your students that is written in the curriculum that you yourself just don't buy into?