2013-10-11 / Columnists

Slice of Life

By Beth Hanning

For years I have been teaching William Shakespeare. Some units I enjoy more than others. My students laugh when I am honest with them and say that I am not really a fan of “Romeo and Juliet”, due to the love at first sight and “I am going to die if I cannot be with you” theme. However, I get excited when I teach “Macbeth” and debate with my students whether or not ambition is a positive quality to possess.

Now with the “New” Common Core Standards I cannot name my unit William Shakespeare and whatever play we are currently studying. With my seniors I have been teaching the Shakespeare comedy,The Taming of the Shrew” for the past few years. This Shakespearean comedy is about a woman who is forced into an arranged marriage after the bargaining between her father and her suitor. This year my unit is entitled: Women and Their Roles in Society throughout History. One of the many things we do is study the play. We also research through non-fiction texts women throughout history and how their roles have changed and/or stayed the same. Many of my students are appalled at how women were treated over history and how some women around the world are still treated.

Since I am always thinking of different ways to implement current events and to grab the attention of the students I am always listening for examples of how women are treated in society. Just this morning Craig Carton, from the sports radio show Boomer and Carton, referred to the singer who sang the national anthem at this past Monday night football game in Atlanta, ** (See below) as a “chick.” I immediately took note of this mention since I was on my way to discuss Roles of Women in Elizabethan England. My husband immediately looked at me and knew that Carton had annoyed me.

So while I was initially annoyed, I became angrier as I researched the history of the term “chick” and the different explanations of why the term is used. According to various websites women are being compared to chickens in a chicken coop. I do not know about you but that is not really how I want to be referred to or my two daughters who I consider young women not “chicks.”

While researching the term one blogger commented that if you are looking to be offended you will be. While I entirely agree with that statement I still think that Carton’s reference underlies a deeper belief about women and what he believes is their role in society.

Maybe I am looking for ways that women are being offended so I can incorporate them into my new units. However some are making it easy for me…

**In New York Jets news my husband told me that the Jets are now currently 3-2 and are one game out of first place. I wonder if I should start saving for the ticket… at least it is local and no plane ticket or hotel is needed. **

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