Thursday, February 25, 2010

School Presentation


Isabel Bishop’s renderings of Elizabeth Bennet in the E. P. Dutton edition of Pride and Prejudice

I volunteered to go into my daughter’s 7th grade classroom and talk about Jane Austen. I am excited, but I didn’t think I’d get a whole hour.

It changes things. Part of me starts to panic, and part of me says ‘Now think of all the fun things we can do!’.

I don’t know if any of you are like this, but because of my anxiety issues I get really nervous, even if it’s something I want to do. I think this will be so much fun, but still, panic is setting in.

There’s so much I want to say. I don’t need to write a lecture, but I tried to write an outline just to keep me focused a little.

I’ve done a presentation for adults before, most of whom were already Austen fans. My goal tomorrow is twofold- to help the children understand Jane Austen’s life and the challenges she faced as a lady writer, and to explain some of the interesting cultural differences  to help them in their reading of the books.

As fond as I am of Jane Austen, I think 7th grade is a little young for American kids to be introduced to her. I’m afraid they’ll miss a lot. But these are smart kids, so hopefully I’m wrong. Either way I look forward to bringing a little of Jane Austen’s world to them.


  1. One of my good friend's daughter (16) is really into Jane Austen, her and her friends found abridged editions for young adults, and now they love the stories. I think jst getting them excited baout the story is the biggest part, then they can tackle the real stuff when they aren't so worried about trying to decipher the plot and characters.
    At least, that worked for me! I just got addictted to the movies first.

    You will do awesome. Don't let the nerves spoil all the fun!

  2. Okay, just a thought- this must be the primary leader in me, but what if you had some fun multiple questions about the lifestyles back then (like what was Austen's bigggest obstacle in writing, then think of fun answers and include the real one) and some fun 'old fashioned' prizes like a small sketch of a flower, or some dried herbs, etc- things that are in her stories so when you give the prize out you can talk about it....
    okay, just a thought.
    I won't be sad at all if you don't do that, but we are all so visual, especially students! I'd love to see those questions myself!

  3. I think you will be wonderful (are you dressing up for it?). I work with kids from 4 years old to middle school age and my middle school age children really enjoy things like this. I think you will be great and that they will love it!



  4. Hello, I just found your blog and I'm excited to know another Jane Austen fan. Your post was neat, teaching 7 year olds about a famous writer from a time that many of them probably aren't aware of. So many children today are so caught up on technology. Cell phones, texting, FB, they may not even know of the time when reading, drawing, sewing, etc is what people did with their time. How different life was then. I'm sure some will appreciate it. let us know what happens.


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