Midwood High School
MICHAEL MCDONNELL, PRINCIPAL
2839 BEDFORD AVENUE, BROOKLYN, NY 11210
Ms. Thomas is the AP for ELA.
“There are several teachers who accused me of destroying the English department,” Ms. Thomas said. Previously, she said, teachers had been able to choose which books they wanted to teach, and many of them taught only literature. (She also noted that some teachers had taught the same books each year, no matter which grade they were teaching, so some students were being assigned the same books over and over again.)
Ms. Thomas said she believed many students were more interested in talking about real-world issues like genetic testing than about how a character changed over the course of a novel.
“I was in a class once and the bell rang, and the kids wouldn’t leave, because they were having a strong debate about whether privacy was more important than security,” she said.
Ms. Thomas targeted a senior teacher unfairly for ordering books for his ELA classes. She also targets any teacher, young or old, who has a mind of their own.
She is inept and incompetent. She has bragged about targeting the veteran folks in her dept who wear diapers. She is building a clique of teachers she knows by pushing members of her dept out with a goal of a whole new dept in 2 or 3 years. Talks a good game but actually does nothing all day. She is very literal and can’t see nuances. Unethical to say the least
Honestly, it makes sense to have teachers provide students with a literary education that is relevant to them. It seems like the senior teacher wanted to bypass the rules and teach his own material of choice by buying the books himself. It makes sense that this would be a problem. I’m an aspiring teacher and I’m looking to work under leadership that provides students with material that is relevant to their lives and will prepare them for the discussions they will have when they take college courses. Students aren’t going to be able to engage with material critically if it plays no role in their lives.
So you are saying that they should not read Macbeth or Othello? Since they are not likely to go whale hunting, they should not read Moby Dick?
While the classics are not completely irrelevant, the basis of education should be to engage the students. What good is teaching Moby Dick or Othello if they couldn’t care less? If they read something they can identify with, they become interested and learn better.
Great works of literature are relevant to students and they prepare students for college level work. Teacher are not allowed to use literature in English classes. At Midwood students are not exposed to Shakespeare, Orwell, Huxley, Harper Lee, Steinbeck, … Students need to be exposed to great works of literature that might help them develop conscientiousness, empathy, social awareness and positive character development.