Memes

Classic Remarks – What Classic Changed Your Life?

Classic Remarks is a meme hosted by Pages Unbound.  I love the way their page brings attention to classic books.  I hope to follow along and even though I’m a little late I will try to have something to contribute.  Please visit their site!

Prompt for September 25th – What Classic Changed Your Life?

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

I have a real fondness for this book. I first read it when I was about 11 years old. I don’t think I really understood what was going on in it, but it was fascinating!

The reason why this is a book that changed my life has to do with my first two years of junior high. I was a gifted student in elementary school, but when I went to junior high in the 6th grade I was placed in remedial classes. Remedial classes are primarily for kids who are struggling with basic comprehension skills. I didn’t understand why I was in classes where I felt like it was assumed that I didn’t have the ability to do math, or that I couldn’t read. The teachers I had were not the best. They ridiculed me, and even though teachers aides told them I had the ability to do more advanced work they refused to acknowledge that there was a problem. After a while, I was extremely discouraged and frustrated with my classes.

A year later in 7th grade, we were having “free reading time” during english class and I picked Martian Chronicles from the shelf. The teacher passed by my desk and asked how I was doing. I almost jumped out of my chair. “I’m reading Martian Chronicles. I mean I’ve read it before but it’s so good … have you read it??!!?” She just gave me a weird look and walked away. I was discouraged again. I had hoped she would talk to me about the book.

The next day she had me take some tests, and then called my parents. She said I was reading at a high school level and it was clear to her that I was in the wrong class. The school admitted that they had lost my records when I came over from elementary school and that I should never have been in the remedial classes. They immediately moved me over into classes where I could be challenged and learn more. Even as a kid I recognized the difference in the classes and was so relieved. But I did think about those other teachers, and the kids in those classes who maybe could have done better in school with a little more attention, help and encouragement.

So in a weird way, it was my excitement over the strange world that Bradbury created in The Martian Chronicles that changed my life and had an effect on my education in a very real way.

2 thoughts on “Classic Remarks – What Classic Changed Your Life?

  1. Thank you so much for sharing what wasn’t a great experience for you. But how wonderful that a brilliant Ray Bradbury book—one of my favorites!—could literally help so much.

    Side note: I didn’t know about Classic Remarks, but I’ve been trying to read more classics this year, and I think I’d like to participate in the future. So thanks, too, for putting it on my radar.

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