Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Helena Bonham Carter Has a Really Nice Rack

I tricked you with that title.  Helena Bonham Carter's cleavage is a very small part of what I'd like to discuss today.  And we won't be discussing it until the end of this blog.  I apologize for this deception.  (No, I don't.)

I had observations today and what I really want to talk about is the library.  Then I'll get to Helena Bonham Carter's cleavage, I swear.

The school I'm observing at is a small town school and the junior and senior high schools share a building, though they are separated within.  Resource rooms like the library and computer lab are centrally located as both schools share them.

Today the British Literature class I'm working with had a project in the library.

The library was larger than I expected it to be, given the size of the school.  When I got there, I did the obligatory dialogue with my supervising teacher and as she went off to answer questions, I decided to ignore the students and browse the library.  (To my credit, the assignment was simple and it was, after all, my last day as an observer.  Naturally, I should get the opportunity to explore the library.)

The library was sparsely stocked.  Bittersweet.  Each shelf was only half full.  Essentially, it had the inventory I would have expected spread across a space that was twice the size I expected.

I don't like to see lonely bookshelves.

As I was browsing, trying to familiarize myself with the resources so I would know what I have to work with when I begin my student teaching this winter, my belly began buzzing with excitement.

So many good resources.  Biblical atlases, volumes on classic literature and mythology- some of which I'd never heard of, periodicals, etc.  So many things that I want to learn about.

I found myself with a binder full of journal articles about problems in education.  I had the binder laid atop a bookcase. The little pouch that is my lower abdomen (the little pouch that I have grown to love) was pressed against the bookshelf as though I was going to melt into it and I was steadfastly reading- by choice.

I've been distressed that as much as I have always loved to read, the sheer volume of reading I am required to do for all of the classes I choose to load upon myself has really made me cringe at the thought of reading for pleasure.  I try to carve out time each day but I have no interest in reading.

Yet, there I was, choosing to read about something I have to read about every day and normally despise.  Just standing amongst all of those books, there were so many I wanted to grab, it was hard to choose. 

It made me think of what some education theorists contend is the only way to make learning in the classroom meaningful: teachers should let students choose what they want to learn about.  I can't agree fully with this as once I begin teaching, there will be curriculum that I have to follow if I want to keep my job.  But I have to be mindful and ensure that I'm taking detours to meet student interests.

Obviously, the biggest reason I can't wait to graduate is my craving to work, to be productive.  Also, I want my reading back.  I want to choose what I'm going to read.  I don't want piles of books on the dining room table containing chapters upon chapters of material that I have to cover by tomorrow.

We're running out of time and I promised cleavage. 

Back in the classroom, one of the classes was watching Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  I watched that movie as a senior in high school and hadn't seen it since.  Oddly, the thing that I remembered from it was Helena Bonham Carter's awesome cleavage. 

So, you can imagine my delight when my supervising teacher paused the movie and said, "Check out the cleavage in this next scene" to the class.  And they listened up and paid attention.  You may argue that this type of commentary is sending a bad message but I was just excited to see that my sense of humor will translate with this age group. 

Like my experience in the library, it can't be all curriculum, curriculum, curriculum.  Sometimes, I have to let the students loose to make their own discoveries and other times, I have to be human and acknowledge that I see the same things they do.

And now, you can see it too (I couldn't find any Frankenstein photos that did her rack justice):

Helena Bonham Carter's cleavage in In Fight Club:

The upcoming Harry Potter movie:

Also, she's an excellent actress.

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