The thing about teaching Shakespeare

21 May

I forgot how much I laugh at the end of the year when we read A Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

At first the kids are nervous, thinking it is going to be hard. But then these things happen:

  • we write skits in Elizabethan English and two naughty boys perform “A Midsummer Night’s Endgame”
  • they start adding eth to almost everything and I hear words like “noeth” and “oofeth” in the locker room, and I can’t help but laugh
  • they laugh at words like “nosegay”, “bosom”, “virgin”
  • our tableaux aren’t true tableaux because Lysander and Hermia can’t stop their shoulders from shaking in mirth as he cups her face and looks longing into her eyes
  • the look of terror in Hermia’s eyes as she realizes she is about to say “O, hell” in class and the twinkle that lingers there afterwards

Next week we will write Shakespearean insults. I can hardly wait.


8 Responses to “The thing about teaching Shakespeare”

  1. Lisa Keeler May 21, 2019 at 6:50 am #

    Fun to make it playful and to play into all of that end of year energy!

    • Adrienne May 21, 2019 at 8:34 am #

      And they have A LOT of energy this time of year.

  2. arjeha May 21, 2019 at 7:03 am #

    I am sure Shakespeare would be proud and he would be laughing harder than anyone. What a great way to bring the school year to a close.

    • Adrienne May 21, 2019 at 8:34 am #

      It is always a great way to end the year.

  3. jenbryantauthor May 21, 2019 at 8:27 am #

    Those kids are lucky to have a teacher who understands the value of humor (as the Bard himself did, of course!) Your students will remember SO much more of this because it was done in a creative, accepting way.What a fun classroom you must have . . . enjoy the rest of your school year!!

    • Adrienne May 21, 2019 at 8:33 am #

      Thanks! It is certainly making it enjoyable.

  4. Joanne Toft May 21, 2019 at 9:14 am #

    What great fun! They will always love Shakespeare after this! Love it!

  5. Brian Rozinsky May 21, 2019 at 9:01 pm #

    Enjoyeth thy slice, I most certainly have — its veritable nosegay of well-chosen words.

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