Have you ever felt like an “outsider”?

After teaching the novel, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, for the last five years, it has become one of my personal favorites. Even though it was written in 1967, the story is full of so many life lessons that are still appropriate to our society today. We may not have “Greasers” or “Socs”, but everyone at some point in their life has felt as if they were an “outsider” – or not accepted by the people around them. Sometimes it’s difficult to get a seventh grader to admit they have felt different or left out. Honestly, as an adult, it’s hard to admit that you have felt left out. Everyone wants to belong, to feel accepted, and to be understood.
There are many students who are just waiting for the opportunity to tell someone, “I don’t feel like I belong anywhere.” They feel misunderstood, unaccepted, and unloved. It is for those students that I will continue to use this novel in my classroom. I want them all to understand that EVERYONE, whether they want to admit it or not, has felt the same way that they do. I want them to know that they are strong enough to rise above that feeling and figure out where they do belong. I want them to learn the value of making everyone feel included. It is so easy to get along with people who think and act the same way as you, but we don’t truly grow as human beings until we learn to accept others for who they are. My hope is that, after reading this novel, my students will learn how to always make everyone feel included. Of course, I also want them to always understand what Johnny meant when he said, “Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold…”, but that’s another lesson entirely.

Blog post - Outsiders image-2
Mrs. Teresa Anderson
7th grade ELA teacher

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