Wednesday, October 30, 2013


James Peabody-Harrington
Understanding Literature
        The theme of teaching is alluded to in the works of Richard Hague, Langston Hughes, and Gary Gildner. In “Directions for Resisting the SAT,” by Hague, the speaker is rebellious to the way of teaching and testing presented by the SATs. In Hughes's “Thank You, M'am,” a method of teaching is revealed to help shape the future decisions of a young boy. Gildner presents a stern and harsh teacher is “First Practice.” Teaching can be done in many ways but few are effective due to the mastery needed by the teacher.
        The speaker in “Directions for Resisting the SAT” challenges the reader not to conform to the SAT testing system. The SAT is a nation wide standardization test used for college applications. Hague presents a speaker who will not observe the rules requested by the SAT and tells others not to either. “Do no observe the rules of gravity,/commas, history”(Hague 3-4). It is impossible not to observe gravity but punctuation and knowledge of histroy and very easy to ignore. The speaker wants to abandon the test and blames all success on rotten luck because knowledge is useless to the speaker. The speaker is upset because the SAT is too broad and does not confront the individual need. The speaker even goes as far to say to that all means of conformity should be abandoned. “Resign all clubs and commitees./Go down with the ship–any ship”(Hague 9-10). Go down with the ship is an allusion to to the fact that conformity leads to useless destruction. The speaker is trying to teach individualism and to not become a follower in a group system. The teaching done by the speaker is assertive and effective.
        “Thank You, M'am” presents a unusual teacher in Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones. She catches a boy named Roger stealing her purse and instead of calling the cops she takes him home and feeds him. It is an extraordinary way of teaching that she use with Roger instead of punishing him she teaches him his wrong doing so that he will not do it again. She cleans him up and makes him presentable and even gives him some money so he can get blue suede shoes. “But I wish you would behave yourself, son, from here on in”(Hughes 508). She care about how the boy develops and being the teacher that she is wants him to succeed in the future.
        Gildner's “First Practice” sets the scene for a speaker who is partaking in his first practice will a new coach. The coach presented by Gildner is a fiery coach. “Clifford Hill, he was/a man who believed dogs/ate dogs, he had once killed/for his country”(Gildner 7-10). Coach Hill has the mentality that it is a god eat dog world and he is teaching the players that that is what must be done for victory. He is obviously a proud man who believes in what he teaches being a man who served in the military. A proud, strong, and determined man is one of the best models for a teacher and a leader. “I take/that to mean you are hungry/men who hate to lose as much/as I do”(Gildner 14-17). Hungry men want victory, they feed on it and Coach Hill knows this hunger and he wants to teach it to his players.
        Teaching is a main theme in “Directions for Resisting the SAT,” “Thank You, M'am,” and “First Practice.” Hague presents a speaker who is challenging the SAT and the conformity and standardization that it delivers in “Directions for Resisting the SAT.” In “Thank You, M'am,” by Hughes, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones teaches Roger right from wrong instead of punishing him without a lesson. In Gildner's “First Practice,” Clifford Hill is revealed as a strict teacher who demands victory. Teaching is most effective when the teacher can draw the attention of the very individual and not just a group or team as seen in these works. 

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