When it comes to teaching, the “torch of enlightenment” gets passed both ways. This teacher takes a great poem, and launches into a thought-provoking discussion with her students.
On a side note, I also really appreciate her and her students’ thoughts on mental illness. Society attaches far too much stigma to a problem that is already causing enough pain and anguish for an individual and their family. Don’t hate.
I was teaching the poem “Her Kind” to my students this morning and discovered that this was the only time I have ever taught it correctly. I have tried teaching it before, and would find myself floundering in trying to convey the kind of alienation Sexton goes through in this text. To read the poem, the link is: “Her Kind” Anne Sexton.
This is the first time I felt my students sympathise with the persona of the poem. The persona mentions that she has felt what it was like to be a witch during medieval times and to be considered strange by society, and eventually would just retreat in her small enclave and try to “fix suppers” for worms and elves, and would still be misunderstood. The last part of the poem is about how witches were burnt, and how she has waved her “nude arms” at the villagers…
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