Saturday, October 12, 2013

Teaching poem: Hanging Fire


almost a month i'm working as a substitute teacher. when i was doing my teaching practice, i was a bit daring in planning my lesson. challenge the students, be experimental in class. but now, working to replace someone doesn't give me enough room to be so leisure about it. i need to finish the syllabus, update the pbs lagi. the works are just mountaining. not just that, i'm facing wide gap of proficiency and behaviour of students. need to be extra careful in planning the lesson. making them too work up like moving around will turn my class into an amazon jungle. 

so few days ago, after a long week of pmr holiday, i'm thinking of having an ease, a bit of freedom in learning and teaching. i introduced a poem that i took from my literature coursebook in university. it's called Hanging Fire by Audre Lodre (1934-1992). i was a bit hesitant at first, afraid that they cannot comprehend, digest it in a short period. but surprisingly they came up with various interpretations on the poem. indeed interesting.

personally when it comes to poem, there's possibility that the readers come up with different meaning and message. samalah macam situasi, kita cuba buat baik, tapi orang mungkin anggap kita ikhlas atau mungkin mengada, menunjuk. same goes with poem. yes! you could get the exact interpretation of the author's intention or you could go miles from the original meaning. kan kan.. cut the membebel short, this lesson was conducted to a form 1 and 2 class with high level of english proficiency.

here goes the first stanza,

I am fourteen
and my skin has betrayed me
the boy I cannot live without
still sucks his thumb
in secret
how come my knees are
always so ashy
what if I die
before morning 
and momma’s in the bedroom
with the door closed.

some of the interpretations go like the girl is actually immature and full of dissatisfaction with her own body appearance. she refuse to be appreciative about her looks, body and skin. ashy knees is telling us that she didn't like her own skin. her crush is childish. one of the group in form 2 said that the boy actually a rich one whose still depends on his parents. someone mentioned that the girl is actually a lazy one to clean her room, that's why her knees are ashy. Hihi. 

I have to learn how to dance
in time for the next party
my room is too small for me
suppose I die before graduation
they will sing sad melodies
but finally
tell the truth about me
There is nothing I want to do
and too much
that has to be done
and momma’s in the bedroom
with the door closed.

one of the group in Form 1 said 'learning how to dance' refers to challenges in life. good! some groups said that the girl is not so excited about life and feels like giving up. she predicts that she will die young. one of the group in Form 2 said that people actually talked bad things behind her back and mistreated her. in the other hand one group propose that the message from this stanza is to be grateful and not complaining too much.  

Nobody even stops to think
about my side of it
I should have been on Math Team
my marks were better than his
why do I have to be
the one
wearing braces
I have nothing to wear tomorrow
will I live long enough
to grow up
and momma’s in the bedroom
with the door closed.

this stanza brings a lot of relation to their life. they relate it  to the event in class where they were fighting for the best marks, best students but sometimes it didn't go their way. then feeling not so attractive in class. shame with own looks. interestingly one of the group said the girl should actually buy more clothes. haha. 

and the active discussion comes to a question of why is the meaning of "and momma’s in the bedroom with the door closed" and why the author keep repeating it. some said the mother didn't give her enough attention, always deny her feeling, couldn't take her matters seriously. one of the group mentioned that the mother might had lost her husband resulting she locking herself. one suggests that the mother is already dead and bedroom closed refers to coffin. woww! another group said that the house is actually on fire and mother didn't realise about it. Creative enough!

p/s: coffin and literature reminds me to one of our literature discussion.


Anne Nurain said...

wow hebat aa student2 tu..
lau aku memang lemah bab2 interpret poem ni.. hehehe..

SimplySeoul said...

hehe.. ya, high proficiency, kelas yang first.. tapi saya tolong jg tu here and there. hehe.

Cik Itah@RRP said...

memang touching la..:)

Armstrong said...

Reading poems means that you make some poems too. And that means you are able to make songs. Have you tried it? Hehee.

Happy weekend!

SimplySeoul said...

Cik Itah: hehe, xda la. lucu juga sebenarny situation dalam kelas tu.

Arm: I make a lousy poem, and if i write lyric..sure bernada lousy jg. hehe..