The Group

This was the fifth meeting with an AmeriCorps organization whose members work in public and charter schools.

The Program

We read Langston Hughes' "Theme for English B." The theme, broadly speaking, was education and difference. We met just after lunch around too large a table off-site, where the group was spending its day.


We began by considering the instructor's assignment, to 'let a page come out of you,' and his conclusion, 'then it will be true.' What would it mean to 'let a page come out' of one, and how could it be anything but true? We then moved on to the differences the narrator identifies - first external, as one participant pointed out (age, history, color), and then internal (likes and dislikes). We stayed for a good while with the question of how important it is to know one's students, or to know their backgrounds. Race and language were the central subjects here. Then, too, we considered whether relationships between instructors and students might be instrumental, or stand on their own as an end, and the strengths and weaknesses of each. Towards the end, we turned to the question of the instructor-- what is known about the instructor, whether more should be known, what the assignment would have been like had the instructor asked the students to write a page about him (or her).

Next Time

I would use this text again, both to talk teaching and to talk difference, professionalism, race, whole people vs. people in particular roles (such as teacher/student).

Final Thoughts

I had brought three more poems but this one was plenty on its own.

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