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April 2-4, 2016
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2016 ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show

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April 2005 | Volume 62 | Number 7
The Adolescent Learner Pages 74-77

Old Texts and Opera—Inciting Students to Read

Yaroslav Senyshyn

An enticing reading list and a willingness to get to know students helped turn troubled teens into engaged readers.

There they were, the not-so-little devils, already in the classroom waiting for me. Some stood on their chairs or desks, and one student was beating his chest while hooting the primeval call of Tarzan. It was the first day of class, and I was terrified.

When the head of the English Special Education and Basics department offered me the opportunity to teach a class of 12 “special” students at this secondary school in Ontario, he made it sound as though I had just won a major prize in the lottery. He said that this would be an excellent experience that would enhance my teaching skills. But all of my optimism over this grand prospect was soon shattered. It took about half the period to calm the students down. For weeks, I could not control the mayhem. I was in the grip of combat fatigue from my first day forward.


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