In almost 30 years of working with struggling adolescents, just over half of them as a teacher, I have endeavored to help young people dealing with a broad and deep variety of personal challenges. I’ve noticed, in my years as a teacher, that by the time struggling students reach high school, they have endured adversity and failure, which has mutated into both academic and social alienation. My first task with such students, as I have tended to see it, is to assist them in recognizing and overcoming that alienation, and join, so to speak, their own lives. (I guess that says something about how I see education: learning is life, and learning, as I often tell students, is too important to be left in the hands of a fool like me.)
One way I have done that is to respond to student interest for guidance in developing differentiated instructional materials. As this blog demonstrates, I hope, I have worked assiduously over time to create, develop, and deliver such curricula.
A couple of years ago a student arrived in my classroom with an intense interest in Asian mythology. I used that interest as a way of engaging him in reading and writing activities of the sort which he told me he generally thought “sucked.” By exploiting my knowledge of his interests, I learned some things I hadn’t about myth across Asia, developed some new materials, and engaged a very difficult-to-reach young man.
This reading and worksheet on Babylonian mythical War of the Gods was one of the fruits of this labor. In the process of producing this, I also researched the Sumerian and Babylonian pantheons. For the next week or ten days, in this blog’s ongoing observation of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month 2019, I’ll post a number of reference materials related to those mythological characters.
If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.