As a teacher, one of the most rewarding moments is when you’re taught by your students. I have been teaching ‘The Women of Troy’ for three years, and throughout those years, there have been moments when students have made their own interpretations of moments in the text that I hadn’t even thought of. These are the moments that give me so much joy as a teacher but also reinforces that we are doing a good job because we have made you critical thinkers. You’re not just looking at that surface meaning behind the text, but you are considering that symbolic meaning. All those years of getting you to think about why characters do something or why an author has used a particular motif throughout their text have paid off.
Every year I also discover something new in the text that I hadn’t thought of in the previous year. I don’t know it all and I’ve never said I do, but that’s what you want to see, that your teacher isn’t perfect, we don’t have all the answers, and we value your input through discussion as you tend to give us another perspective. Sometimes you and English teachers can be a bit far fetched with some of our ideas, but remember, if you can back it up with the right evidence, how can you possibly be wrong?
That leads me to this the reason behind this blog post. I invited a couple of students who I taught last year (Class of 2022), Hamish B. and Mel D, to join me in a discussion with my colleague Sonia Murr as well as two current students of the class of 2023 (Abbey H. and Joanna M.) to talk about what we think about Euripides’ ‘The Women of Troy’.
I have to admit, this has probably been my favourite podcast to date. Hearing what everyone has to say and their interpretations of the text was an interesting insight and again another great learning experience. We discussed topics such as our favourite characters (mine is Cassandra BTW), and the symbolism of the Trojan horse. We also delved into the big question of was Euripides really a feminist?? Towards the end we moved on to discuss how to approach writing about the text at this stage when you’re just getting your head around all of the ideas that have been thrown at you and you have to sift through it all to use it in your analytical writing.
Joining forces with Sonia Murr and her podcast ‘Reading Beyond the Lines’ we’ve teamed up with our students but hopefully this helps some of you to understand the text but also consider the different interpretations that can come from analysing the play.
Thank you to Hamish and Mel who also came in to talk about this text after thinking that they’d never talk about it again, but then their old English teacher gets in touch to ask for a favour. I’m glad they said yes.
Click on this link, if the following doesn’t work. https://readingbeyondthelines.buzzsprout.com/2128110/12834689
VCE Literature – A focus on Ellen van Neerven's poem Paper ships, from their collection Throat – Reading Beyond the Lines
- VCE Literature – A focus on Ellen van Neerven's poem Paper ships, from their collection Throat
- Euripides' The Women of Troy – in conversation
- VCE Literature – A focus on the poem 'Chermy' from Ellen van Neerven's poetry collection Throat.
- VCE Literature: Ellen van Neerven visits our Literature class to discuss 'Throat'
- VCE Literature: 'Treaty', by Ellen van Neerven, from their poetry collection Throat
As always, keep it Zesty