In my current posting in Springfield, Massachusetts, I have encountered the most simpatico colleague with whom I’ve worked as a teacher. Unfortunately, she is about to depart the school. I bid her a fond farewell; I also thank her for bringing into our classroom Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s slim but compelling volume We Should All Be Feminists. I was aware of Ms. Adichie over the years, and at one point, on National Public Radio, I listened to a feature on what I could have sworn the reporter called the “Children of Achebe”–referring, of course, the Chinua Achebe–but I cannot for the life of me find anything on this on the Internet.
This is not to say that NPR didn’t cover Mr. Achebe, a towering figure in global literature in general and African literature in particular, because the media outlet definitely did, including an interview with that great interrogator, Terry Gross. The BBC reported on something close to what I thought I heard on NPR, to wit a report on Achebe’s heirs–which names among that group Ms. Adichie, Ben Okri, and Chris Abani. Just so readers don’t think I missed anything (even though this is still a far-from-complete list of Nigeria’s distinguished writers), Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka makes this list–and he is eatured, incidentally in conversation with Henry Louis Gates, in the current edition of The New York Review of Books.
In any case, I’d of course seen the We Should All Be Feminists over the years since its publication, but was too busy with other things to engage with it. But now that I’ve had time to read it a couple of times, readers of this blog won’t be surprised that I’ve begun developing a self-selected and self-paced reading unit to accompany the book. Incidentally, part of the impetus for this (it has turned out to be a bigger project than I’d initially envisioned) project is the fact that this text began its life as a TED Talk, which makes it accessible to struggling readers and English language learners; the other, major part of my motivation for this is the interest the girls in our class took in it. This is a book kids like and to which they relate.
So, the fruits of my labor thus far are five vocabulary-building worksheets and five comprehension worksheets. These are, you will perceive, in their initial stage. Owing to time constraints, as well as to focus on this endeavor and put my best work into it, I am working on this in stages. By this time (i.e. March, which is of course Women’s History Month) next year, I plan to have this material ready to post as a Weekly Text.
For now, however, this stuff is just too tentative. I do want to say this: if you have ever considered commenting on material on Mark’s Text Terminal, I would encourage you to do so now. I am particularly interested in hearing from women about how I could dilate upon the basic questions the comprehension worksheet asks, and improve them, and improve this whole project. And internet trolls? Don’t bother. I’ll just trash your comments.
And, as always:
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.