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My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pretex

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My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pretex

Postby charizardpal » Sun 05.13.2007 9:49 pm

My English teacher often used “Puritan Literature” as a pretext for preaching Christianity to the class. During my Junior year, my teacher required us to read several stories from the puritan part of the literature book. This would be excusable as legitimate teaching if he had neglected to explain in full the nature of hell, the devil, and the core tennents of the Puritan religious belief while gesturing wildly and completely skipping most nearly every unit in the book.

I remember having an Indian friend sitting next to me who was expressing my feeling when he rolled his eyes during the sermon and slouched into his chair, deliberately staring at the ground with stubborn resistance. As soon as he sighed, the teacher snapped his head in his direction and said quickly without pause, “V___(his henceforth anonomous name), are you listening? Are you paying attention? This is going to be on the test.” Then the teacher resumed his digestion of the themes and imagery in a Puritan “hell and damnation” speech before moving on to analyze an allegory about Tom Walker.
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RE: My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pr

Postby tanuki » Sun 05.13.2007 9:56 pm

I hate your English teacher.
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RE: My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pr

Postby lalaith » Sun 05.13.2007 10:07 pm

charizardpal wrote:
My English teacher often used “Puritan Literature” as a pretext for preaching Christianity to the class.


Are you just venting or is it crossing your mind to try to do something about it?
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RE: My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pr

Postby flammable hippo » Sun 05.13.2007 10:13 pm

Do you go to a religious Christian school? Because if you do then I guess your teacher is allowed to preach about it. However, if you go to a public school which is supposed to be secular then you could complain to the principal or something. I'm sure they would do something considering

a) the whole seperation of church and state thing
b) it's unfair to any non-Christian students (Muslims, Hindus, Athiests, etc).
c)he's supposed to be teaching English, not religion
Last edited by flammable hippo on Sun 05.13.2007 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pr

Postby HeyItsMatt » Sun 05.13.2007 10:37 pm

flammable hippo wrote:
Do you go to a religious Christian school? Because if you do then I guess your teacher is allowed to preach about it. However, if you go to a public school which is supposed to be secular then you could complain to the principal or something. I'm sure they would do something considering

a) the whole seperation of church and state thing
b) it's unfair to any non-Christian students (Muslims, Hindus, Athiests, etc).
c)he's supposed to be teaching English, not religion


Well, it's theoretically supposed to be secular, but I dunno if that really means much in certain parts of the U.S. Here in VA we also had a high school teacher who was notorius for preaching in the classroom - unfortunately, unless they're REALLY crossing the line, sometimes there's not much a minority religion / nonreligious student can do, esp. if the school administration is skeptical and takes the teacher's side.

All I can say, char, is just to tough it out and don't let it get you down too much - it's only one class, and eventually you'll either be in college (where that stuff is less common) or in the real world, where you can put up with marginally less b.s. from people assuming you're motivated and got good grades!

Okay, that didn't sound so encouraging. Sorry.
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RE: My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pr

Postby SirFirestorm » Mon 05.14.2007 12:10 am

Unfortunately, sometimes you get teachers like that. Grades are grades though, so all you can really do is complain to a higher up if it really bothers you. You still gotta do your work, its no use hurting yourself over an overzealous teacher.
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RE: My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pr

Postby saraLynne » Mon 05.14.2007 12:37 am

When I was in high school, my teacher explained Hades and the fact that everything had a God associated with it. But we were studying Greek mythology, and I am pretty sure she wasn't trying to convert us.

I'm certainly not pro-christian, but I'm not vehemently anti-christian either. I have seen both groups go too far in their crusade either for or against. I think that very often, because we expect christians to be constantly proselytizing their religion (not without reason, to be sure!), we see it where it is not.

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RE: My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pr

Postby charizardpal » Mon 05.14.2007 1:45 am

Actually I've already gone and left the high school to college, so its not like I can complain or do anything. But I was wandering around the High School two days ago with my friend when something triggered the memory of the teacher and wondered what people thought about it online. It's interesting that so far people have agreed that the teacher did a bad thing... (*nods head...I see....*)
Last edited by charizardpal on Mon 05.14.2007 1:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pr

Postby Mike Cash » Mon 05.14.2007 2:29 pm

Get off your high horse.

If the topic is Puritan literature, then aspects of Christianity are going to figure very heavily into understanding it. There was a day and age when it could be expected that students had in the course of growing up learned much of what the teacher is now having to lay out for you one piece at a time. Sort of how it used to be taken for granted that by the time young people entered university they had a basic understanding of geography, when in fact it turns out that most are entirely clueless.
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RE: My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pr

Postby tanuki » Mon 05.14.2007 2:43 pm

Mike, did you read this?

charizardpal wrote:
completely skipping most nearly every unit in the book.


The topic "Puritan literature" can last a few classes, but the class wasn't called "Puritan literature", so I see no excuse for the behaviour of the teacher (unless the school was Christian, like flammable hippo said).

If a teacher is paid to teach me literature, I want him to teach me literature.
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RE: My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pr

Postby clay » Mon 05.14.2007 3:08 pm

Whether you like it or not, the basic principles of Christianity are a huge part of the cultural literacy for the English speaking world. This is especially true for Western literature.

If your purpose is simply to bash Christianity and find others to nod with you, I would advise you to read the FAQs where it says 'no discussion of religion and politics'.
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RE: My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pr

Postby Mike Cash » Mon 05.14.2007 3:58 pm

tanuki wrote:
Mike, did you read this?

charizardpal wrote:
completely skipping most nearly every unit in the book.


The topic "Puritan literature" can last a few classes, but the class wasn't called "Puritan literature", so I see no excuse for the behaviour of the teacher (unless the school was Christian, like flammable hippo said).

If a teacher is paid to teach me literature, I want him to teach me literature.


"most nearly every" != "every"

I have yet to see a literature class that had time to cover every unit, or which went through them in order.

When people get their panties in as tight a wad as the OP's are, hyperbole has a nasty habit of creeping in. Make allowances for it when reading.
Last edited by Mike Cash on Mon 05.14.2007 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pr

Postby witega » Mon 05.14.2007 4:54 pm

tanuki wrote:
Mike, did you read this?

charizardpal wrote:
completely skipping most nearly every unit in the book.



I also read where the OP wrote
This would be excusable as legitimate teaching if he had neglected to explain in full the nature of hell, the devil, and the core tennents of the Puritan religious belief

If he thinks anyone can actually teach Puritan literature while neglecting to make sure the students have a full understanding of the 'core tenents of the Puritan religious belief and their understanding of the nature of hell and the devill', that tells me he's doesn't understand much about teaching and is letting his own biases color his account of what happened in the class.

Also, it is normal in America for 'Puritan literature' to take up *at least* half-a-semester of English courses in America because it is such a significant piece of our literary history.

I'm not pro-Puritan (given they would have placed me in the above-mentioned hell) but am a fan of accuracy in reporting.

(Given that the Puritans
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RE: My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pr

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 05.15.2007 10:14 am

I find it ironic that people are naive enough to think that seperation of church and state is the complete denial of christian/pagan interaction in literature. are we that closed minded that the only thing we can speak of in class is only grammar and vocabulary? that we cannot even listen to how such literature came about..

I say two cheers for the teacher that has the nuts to stand up and be able to speak with as much freedom as you claim you have, yet won't let your teacher have..

I won't get on a rant about how misinterpreted the "seperation of church and state" and the "right to free speech" has become, but, frankly that you as a student, should show as much respect as you claim you deserve to the person who is trying to enlighten you mud filled brain casing.
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RE: My English Teacher Uses “Puritan Literature” as a Pr

Postby AJBryant » Tue 05.15.2007 3:59 pm

I won't get on a rant about how misinterpreted the "seperation of church and state" and the "right to free speech" has become, but, frankly that you as a student, should show as much respect as you claim you deserve to the person who is trying to enlighten you mud filled brain casing.


Preach it, brother.


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