Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chapters 11&12

           I cannot believe the ending to the book The Water is Wide. I thought surly Conroy’s experiences and opportunities would have been a positive thing for all people in Yamacraw. This was not the case. Conroy was dismissed from his teaching job and this is truly unfair. Throughout the story, Conroy provides many stories of lessons and activities he created to better the student’s lives. I could practically feel his passion for teaching run through my veins while reading his story. His intentions while on Yamacraw Island were purely to help the children.

         The allegations against Conroy were not true and played up. The only things that Conroy could not deny were the allegations the school system arose. The reasons and actions taken were out of Conroy’s hands. The people in charge were not looking at the whole picture. They did not want to look at the difference Conroy had made in his students lives. Rather, they wanted to use their power in every way possible to make a statement. They used their power against Conroy and the students of Yamacraw. The people in power and the school board were not looking out for the students; they were looking out for themselves. It was truly heart aching to hear that Conroy was fired.
        The most touching part about the end of the book was when the student’s parents came to defend Conroy. All the women in the town decided to boycott the school even after being threatened financially. This shows that just because Conroy did not follow the traditional teaching methods, he did make a difference in his student’s lives.

         I chose the last sentence in the book because it made me cry my eyes out. It said “For them I leave a single prayer: that the river is good to them in the crossing.” I think that this is very symbolic in the fact that it relates the students physically crossing and also reaching their goals. Conroy knows that it might be hard for them to leave the island and reach their dreams. He also knows that physically it might be hard for them to cross the river. Either way he wishes the best for his former students of Yamacraw.
I love this book because I felt that Conroy’s students were not the only ones positively affected by Conroy. I think that his students also helped Conroy become a better person as well. Both the students and Conroy were influence by each others presence. I hope that I feel the same way when I have my own class. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chapters 9&10

"Gang, as your teacher, as the person responsible for stuffing knowledge into your porous little brains, I am ordering you to believe that those men are going to the moon" 
I like this quote because Conroy is explaining to the kids that things are possible. They think that the moon is too far away to go to. It kind of relates to the children of Yamacraw having big dreams for their future. 

Chapter nine was very influential as a teacher. I think that we as teachers must be able to think like a child/student. A teacher needs to know how to create lessons and activities that students will learn from but also enjoy. I think that Conroy displays this a lot throughout his book. He does not teach by the book of from the book which many teachers seem to do. He does not cut corners with teacher and puts his whole heart into teacher his students. I feel as though some teachers do not have the passion for teacher which is almost necessary in order for students to learn the most they can. Chapter nine and ten show how passionate Conroy is as a teacher. He allows his students to sleepover at his personal home which shows that he truly cares for his students. He comforts some of his students during the sleepover because they are scared of ghost. He knows how to work with children and make them turn their fears into laughter, which is awesome. It was cool to hear about the Yamacraw people having a fear for ghost. I know that it is common with most cultures but it is more of a major deal in Yamacraw. I wish I could find a man like Conroy around Pembroke. I think that he is one of the most compassionate people I have ever read about. Conroy is an also an exceptional teacher because he takes his students on many field trips, which is what the children of Yamacraw need. Conroy lets them experience things that on the island they cannot do. I think meeting people such as famous basketball stars can really help influence his student’s dreams for the future. Conroy gives hope for the children of Yamacraw to get off the island and do whatever they dream to do. I hope to be half as good of a teacher as Conroy. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chapter 7&8

          "I had a history of not responding well to lousy or pernicious administration, and though I tried to tell myself that she was the boss, and I would have to obey her instructions, I would be goddamned if she was going to turn me into a overseer instead of a teacher." This quote stood out to me because it shows that Conroy does not appreciate how Mrs. Brown talks to him just because she is the principal now. 

          These chapters really convey Mrs. Browns demeanor entirely. I could tell that Conroy was trying to give Mrs. Brown the benefit of the doubt about her actions and words. Once Conroy saw how Mrs. Brown responded to the bed wetting situation, Conroy’s benefit of the doubt attitude went out the window. He could see Mrs. Browns true colors shine like silver in the sun. She was not looking out for the benefit of the students in the school, she was doing what she thought was right. She only took her opinions and knowledge in account and not Conroy’s. As soon as Mrs. Brown became principal of the school once again, she became even more ridiculous. She was did not give Conroy suggestions anymore, yet she threw out commands to Conroy. She scolds Conroy for everything and takes her power to the head.
         When Conroy leaves to go drop off the envelop to the school board, Mrs. Brown comes into see what activities Conroy has left for the students. He leaves the students magazines to cut out pictures from to make a collage. Some of the students put up pictures of Pablo Picassos artwork. The artwork was of naked women and Mrs. Brown thought that Conroy was way out of line. Conroy simply explained that, yes the pictures were of naked women, but it shows the art form of different artists. I think that the people of Yamacraw are so narrow minded and ignorant because they are not cultured with things outside of the island. Conroy is trying to show them culture outside of the island because they are not given the opportunity to do this ever. Mrs. Brown takes Conroy’s strategies and manipulates them into him doing something wrong. If Mrs. Brown had come up in my face and started yelling, like she did with Conroy, I do not think that I would have kept my cool. Conroy is very patient with Mrs. Brown and his students and that is an attribute that I hope I can learn as I become a teacher. 

Chapter 5&6

“When I queried Mrs. Brown, she told me that films were difficult to get to and from the island; in fact, they were more trouble than they were worth.”

I think that this quote shows that Mrs. Brown does not want to put forth as much effort as she can to help the students of Yamacraw. She views something as difficult and writes the idea off the board immediately. I think that this further proves that Conroy does put his whole heart and soul into teaching his students and will go to any measure possible, even if it is something hard to do, to help his students.
Chapter five is very enlightening. The chapter goes more in depth about Conroy’s students. It also gives more of a background on the feelings and attitudes people on the island have toward Conroy and his presence on the island. In the earlier chapters of the book, Mrs. Brown shows a strong dislike for Mr. Conroy’s ways of teaching and what he is doing in the classroom. Mrs. Brown does not seem to think that any of Conroy’s teaching strategies are appropriate for the classroom and to better his students. She agrees that the students love to sing and would allow them to sing all day if he let them. She thinks that he should focus on only the core subjects and not on useless things such as singing and field trips. When Conroy plans a trip to Beauford for Halloween, everyone seems opposed to the idea, especially Mrs. Brown. The parents of Conroy’s students opposed to the idea as well. Conroy eventually reaches out to the parents and gains their trust. Once Conroy has trust from his students and their parents, he is eventually allowed to take the trip to Beauford. As a teacher, I think that it is very important to have the trust from not only the students but the parents and those parents should be involved in their children’s education as much as possible. I think that Conroy’s reason for taking the students to Beauford is to show them life off the island. Some of these children have never seen life outside of their community in Yamacraw. This trip is very important because it gives the students hope and dreams that they did not even know existed. Conroy shows his students that they can do anything that they dream of and they do not have to stay on the island for the rest of their lives. The trip was not all that special to someone that lives off the island on main land, but to the children of Yamacraw, the trip was very special. The white people were very welcoming to the children of Yamacraw which came to my surprise. Celebrations such as trick or treating are a yearly custom to children in America. The children of Yamacraw never got to experience such thing, and took the event as one of the specialist times of their lives. This really makes me appreciate my childhood and all the things I was blessed with growing up.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chapter 4

“They are filthy savages who shouldn't be allowed to have children.” This quote chilled my bones when I read it. I know that this book took place during the end of segregation but to hear a human being refer to another human being as a savage hurts my heart. I really did not understand the severity of racism until reading Conroy’s experiences. I since segregation was put to a stop that people would be more open to blacks and coming together in unity. It also shocks me that the person who said this was part of the only white family in Yamacraw. If they really thought that blacks were “savages” why did they not leave to a place where they felt more comfortable?

It shocked me to hear that there was a school house built just for one child. The fact that he was the only white child in the town should not give him the right to be treated in a special manner. It made me quite upset that he had his own school house while the other students were barely getting an adequate education while he was getting a special attention and an education from a private teacher. I understand that it was in a time of segregation, but Lou and Ted definitely took that to their advantage and took advantage of Yamacraw.     

This chapter brought light to how bad segregation and racism was back then.
I really enjoyed hearing about Conroy’s personal life in this chapter. It is cool to hear about how he got married to Barbara and find out about what he does when he is not putting his heart and soul into teaching his students in Yamacraw.  It brings out his character more and I feel like I can understand him better. To be quite honest, I did not like Conroy at the beginning of the book, but I think I am in love with him now. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Chapter 2-3

I could only imagine not being able to read or write. After reading chapter two and three I can only appreciate the education that was able to me. The students that Conroy teaches are not fortunate enough to have the educational opportunities that I was given. Honestly, I feel that the students were cheated and that it was not fair in any way. Conroy saw light in the situation though. He knew that he had to do something for these kids and he knew that it was going to be easy, yet he took on the task. Conroy took his knowledge and used it in an unconventional way to help spark the energy in his students. Although Mrs. Brown did not agree to the way Conroy started teaching his students it defiantly worked. He began by teaching them about music by playing records from the fifties and teaching them about the music and artist. The students had books and a library but how could they utilize their resources if they did not even know how to use them (read.)  Conroy does not care that he is not teaching to basic essential subjects as long as the students are learning from what he is doing. I have most upright respect for Conroy because you can honestly feel his passion for teaching with each word I read in his novel. I feel that I can relate to him because I feel so happy when the students I help during field experience learn something from me. It is like the light bulb in their head sends me positive energy when it goes off. It is pure joy that children bring when they smile after learning. I know teaching is my calling because it is one of the only truly pure experiences that bring me happiness. I think that Conroy’s way of teaching is one that I want take on with structure of course from the North Carolina standards. He uses things such as the news to integrate into lessons to help teach the students common knowledge and world news. “I then told them that they had to look upon themselves in a different light, that they had to be convinced of their basic worth, and that they could learn just as fast as anyone else”. This quote was so inspirational and very true. Conroy truly believed in his students. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Water is Wide - Chapter 1

I absolutely love this book so far. I was not sure what to expect when I opened to the first page. I did not know that it was going to be such an old book and that Pat grew up during some major events in America. It is kind of cool how he is very blunt with his opinions on the characters in his book. He gave me a totally different perspective of segregation and the mistreatment of blacks during the sixties. It shocked me to hear how the principal at the high school would not remove the flag in respect for Martin Luther King’s death and for empathy of the black students that were enrolled there. It was interesting to hear that Conroy was walking by when the first sit-ins started in Greensboro, NC. Even though he stated he would say the word nigger when he was younger because it was that “forbidden fruit,” he did not join in to riot, which was interesting to me. I think it took a lot of discipline for Conroy to not explode on the black students that were yelling, spitting, and clawing his arm because he was simply standing where they were. It is really interesting to hear how to black responded to the death of Martin Luther King. When Conroy says that they a black boy told him that they were going to burn the who town down and act out with violence because MLK was killed it shocked me. In all the textbooks and media, it made it out to seem that the blacks did not want violence because of the awful violence they had endured for several years. It is cool to hear first-hand stories of the reactions of everyone during such historical events. I also found it interesting that Conroy was Jewish and I think that it hit home when he went to see the concentration camps and saw such awful pictures. In a way, maybe Conroy is relating his grief from what happened to his people with the racism and hatred towards blacks in his own country with.