1. Why doesn’t Miss Narwin receive the grant she needs in order to take a course in new ways to teach literature? Who receives the money and for what? Miss Narwin does not receive the grant she needs in order to take a course in new ways to teach literature because the money had already been allocated to Kimberly Howard, the music teacher. Mrs. Howard was given the money so she could learn new marching band techniques.
2. When Philip learns he cannot even try out for the track team because of his English grade, how does he justify his position? What excuses does he make? When Philip learns he cannot even try out for the track team because of his English grade, he justifies his position by saying he did not know the school had a rule about passing grades and participating in sports. When Coach Jamison explained the rule to Philip and asked if Philip had read the student handbook, Philip replied, “ I didn’t know. I never heard that rule.” “I don’t think anyone does (read the handbook.)” Philip then tries to blame his poor English grade on Miss Narwin: “ It’s Miss Narwin. I keep trying to get her to like me. She won’t. She’s so old-fashioned. Boring.” When Coach Jamison continues to explain the rule regarding grades Philip continues to blame Miss Narwin: “It’s so unfair…..You can’t even kid around with her or anything. I think it’s a personal thing with her. It really is. She has it in for me. I mean, I shouldn’t be in her class….”
3. What suggestion does Coach Jamison give to Philip? Is Philip willing to take responsibility for his situation? Coach Jamison suggests that Philip should go in and speak with Miss Narwin, ask for catch-up work. He also suggests that Philip should study hard and do some extra work. Philip is NOT willing to take responsibility for his situation. We know this because even though Philip does not take his English work seriously, he blames his poor grade on Miss Narwin when he says she doesn’t like him and cannot take a joke. He also blames his situation on the fact that he was not aware of the school rule which was in the student handbook.
4. Why does Miss Narwin disapprove of Philip’s behavior in homeroom? Miss Narwin disapproves of Philip’s behavior in homeroom because he is breaking the rule that states students should stand at RESPECTFUL, SILENT attention during the playing of the national anthem. It should be made clear that Miss Narwin does not dislike Philip; she dislikes his BEHAVIOR.
5. Why does Philip dislike Miss Narwin? Explain his behavior in her class. Philip dislikes Miss Narwin for many reasons: He states that she dislikes him and is out to get him. He says she can’t take a joke, and she is boring. When talking to his friends he says he “can’t stand her.” He goes to say she’s the “stupidest teacher” who got mad when he was humming the national anthem even though, according to Philip, he stopped. He doesn’t believe he should be yelled at for humming. Philip, in homeroom, hums loudly during the playing of the national anthem which is breaking a school rule. During class, Philip isn’t serious and makes continuous jokes. For example when explaining the character Cassius from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Philip takes that time to make a joke Miss Narwin does not appreciate: “ Yeah, but what if he’s crossed eyed? He’d see himself then, wouldn’t he?”
6. How does Philip’s dad show support for Philip? Why might this make the situation worse? Philip’s father makes the following statement to Philip regarding what Philip told his parents about Miss Narwin not allowing him to hum the national anthem: “I think she’s wrong. No two ways about it. You’re right to be bugged…..But that not being allowed to sing “The Star Spangled Banner”…..Well that’s like, sort of, not being allowed to, you know, pray. A personal thing. And the personal thing, in America……the point is, it doesn’t seem right. And we just want you to know we’re with you. It’s important to us that you know that. Neither Mr. Malloy OR Mrs. Malloy know the FULL truth about Philip’s grades, the track team, or why he really got in trouble. They only know what Philip is telling them. How, in many ways, could this make the situation worse?
7. Why do you think Philip decided to hum the national anthem again the next day? What was Miss Narwin’s response? Do you agree with Philip or Miss Narwin? Question One: Student opinion question First she told him to stop. After he did not stop Miss Narwin told him she would not tolerate his “insolence” and threw him out of class. Question Three: Student opinion question: MUST BE BACKED UP!!!!
8. What evidence leads Dr. Doane to claim that Miss Narwin is their best English teacher? Why do you think she calls Miss Narwin into her office to relay this information? Dr. Doane tells Miss Narwin that she has evidence that states that Miss Narwin’s students score higher on the Iowa tests (similar to the NJ ASK), the Stanfords, and the SAT verbals. Dr. Doane called Miss Narwin into her office to relay this information because she probably felt badly that Miss Narwin didn’t receive the grant money and in order to make her feel better, Dr. Doane tells Miss Narwin she doesn’t even need to take this summer course because she is such a good teacher.
9. Compare Mr. Malloy’s attitude towards his job/boss with Philip’s attitude towards Miss Narwin. How does this relate to the advice Mr. Malloy gives his son? Mr. Malloy got in trouble with his boss because he “botched” up a job and when Mr. Malloy tried to make an excuse, his boss says that Mr. Malloy needs to take responsibility. This compares with Philip’s situation because like his father, Philip doesn’t want to take responsibility for his “botched” grade. Mr. Malloy tells Philip to “not give into that crap”, not let himself get pushed around. He continues to tell him to stand up for what he thinks is right. Mr. Malloy probably gives his advice because it is what he wants to do at work. He most likely wants to be respected more by his boss which is why he is giving Philip this advice.
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