Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Of Mice and Men

I start teaching Steinbeck's book tomorrow. It will always remind me of my canoe trip this summer in Boundary Waters, because GT and I read it together and discussed it endlessly. I benefited so much from her foreign perspective as she challenged me to explain some the 1930s colloquialisms and misspelled words. Her perspective, while more learned and intellectual (and more militantly feminist) than my students, did give me some clues to words, concepts, and historical background my students may struggle with.

Teaching literature is not as second nature to me as teaching writing, so in this respect teaching Of Mice and Men will be more of a challenge. But in another, more practical perspective, it will be easier because I have a ton of resources at school to help me. The book is required reading for all ninth graders. I pledge, though, not to devolve to teaching literature the way I was taught --read the book, memorize terms and events, take a multiple choice and short answer test, and do related vocabulary definition and spelling terms. While these things are validating, I don't necessarily know their pedagogical value.

In related news, I have been struggling with mice at home. I noticed their droppings on my kitchen counter, and a couple items in my cabinets, including a box of cereal, were chewed into. On Sunday I bought a couple mousetraps and some poison. While the traps have not been sprung, the mice have taken to the poison. The block on the counter is well-chewed and the one on the floor disappeared the first night. I imagine a surviving mouse quoting a movie villain. "Of course, your poisons have no effect on me. I've been slowly acclimating myself to it for years. Thus we can both drink the poison, but you will die!! Mwuh ha ha!"

I hope the rodent problem is solved, but worry the mice will die in my walls and leave a stench behind stronger than the poison.


monkeyhouse said...

i just put down some green poison blocks last night and this morning a whole block has disappeared!

scary as i know it is only house mice or deer mice (caught about 5 in traps).

any luck getting rid of your mice?

Greg Locascio said...

Yup. They're gone... for now.