Teacherscribe’s Teaching Tip #142
Inspiration (Part 3)
I practically slept through the first few weeks of Mrs. Christianson's English class. For it consisted of boring stuff like simple and compound sentences and verbs and pronouns. That all ended when we began a short story unit. For whatever reason, Mrs. Christianson decided to start the unit with a story called "The Lottery." Now I admit I didn't read it. What was the point, I figured. It was for school; thus it had to be ancient and boring. The next day Mrs. Christianson led us in a discussion of the story. As usual I began to tune out and scribble in my tablet. Then I heard Mrs. Christianson ask what we thought of the conclusion. I ceased my doodling forever the second I heard a student reply, "When Mrs. Hutchinson won the lottery, she was stoned to death by the town's people."
I was shocked. What did I miss? This sounded interesting. It wasn't about a boring minister and some weird black veil. Nor was it about some old man in a boat on the ocean. So that night I read "The Lottery" by some Shirley Jackson. Mrs. Christianson had me hooked.
The next day she introduced us to Edgar Allen Poe. First she recounted his life. I was shocked again. The rock stars I read about had nothing on this guy's wild life. Next Mrs. Christianson read "The Cask of Amontillado." This time I didn't even think about doodling. For the first time in my life I sat riveted in a school desk, gripping the edges as she narrated Montresor's hatred for Fortunato and his wicked revenge. Then as soon as she translated that ironic last line, the bell rang. I was astounded, prying myself from my chair. I hadn't looked at the clock once.