my 10th graders started reading oedipus rex today (that’s the greek tragedy that freud got his infamous “oedipus complex” from — the king who, because of a prophecy, killed his father and married his mother). i really don’t know why i teach it–my two colleagues do not. maybe i think it’s a relevant story full of universal themes (that’s some sort of code word i’m supposed to understand, like 21st century learner! i mean…really?!)

anyway, poor oedipus has this horrible task of finding the murderer of the old king of thebes. and the more he digs, the worse it gets for him (not to mention his eyes since he ends up jabbing them out with his dead wife’s/mother’s decorative pin!). i feel sorry for him because of course we know what’s coming (beegees, anyone? TRAGEDY!). oedipus keeps plugging along, though, until the truth hits him in the face–and there’s nothing he can do to stop the fall.

how many times have i been in the middle of some crisis (maybe an argument with an argumentative student!) and seen the error of my ways, but i don’t stop? i keep going, watching the events play out, as if  i’m having an out-of-body experience? there’s nothing i can do–i can’t take back the “give me the cell phone or you’re out of here”; or “the next one who makes a sound gets detention”; or (my favorite) “finish this essay for homework–if you don’t do it, you’ll get a zero!”

okay, i realize that none of those things are technically “tragic” –at least not in the sense that prez clinton, gov sanford, michael vick, or tiger woods are tragic; however, i think they are tragic for my students. i seriously need to remember that i have choices–the events in my classroom are not fated to be good or bad — no matter what sort of vendetta i may believe the guidance counselors have for me!! heehee… 🙂