Love, pain, and the whole damn thing

I keep thinking of short items I’d like to post, and then I don’t sit down to do it (because I don’t post from SA or NLNRU).  Then, when I do sit down, everything that’s happened becomes a large undifferentiated mass in my mind and I freak out a little at how much is going on.

Wednesday was the AP English Language and Composition test, and both sets of my students took it–the ones I’ve had all year, and the ones I inherited from my colleague who left to have her baby.  Now they are working on their last papers of the year.

My ninth-graders are also writing their last papers, and in myriad other ways, the end of the year is becoming increasingly visible.  Lots of culminating events–the Cum Laude Society inductions, elections for next year’s Student Council, and so on.

Now it looks like I probably won’t teach tenth grade next year; I’ll most likely have a combination of the year-long AP junior class and regular eleventh- and twelfth-grade classes.  (The regular eleventh-grade class is a year-long American literature class; the regular twelfth-grade class is world literature.)  This means that my summer reading and rereading will include:

The Grapes of Wrath (reread; haven’t taught this since 2009)

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (summer reading for World Lit)

Short Stories by Latin American Women: The Magic and the Real (awesome anthology, I’m very excited about this)

“Master Harold”…and the Boys

Actually, that is not too much, considering that I haven’t taught two of these classes before.  (The regular American lit class has a lot of books in common with the AP class, and I helped to revamp the world lit syllabus, so I guess I’ll probably also spend some time with Hamlet, since I haven’t taught it at the high-school level before.


3 responses to this post.

  1. I’m delighted to hear about the anthology, and I’ve just requested a copy from the local library for our 10th-grade world literature course. I taught it for the first time this year, and we need to rethink some of the texts that we used, I think … plus, our short story selection was pretty haphazard, so I want to do something more coherent next year. And earlier today I had requested a copy of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, which I was also thinking about for this class. Looks like we have similar summer reading plans!


  2. Posted by meansomething on June 7, 2012 at 2:59 am

    One book I’m really excited about is the Vintage Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry. Can we swap lists? I’m very curious!


  3. Well, the latest news is that I actually might not get to teach the World Lit course next year, which would really bum me out. Or, rather, I could teach it if I were willing to have three preps, but that kind of wore me out this year, and I think I’d rather have only two preps. But either way, I’m probably not going to get the break from the freshmen next year that I really wanted. The freshman course is great, but somehow I was bored and annoyed this year. But I totally understand that staffing is a big puzzle and that we can’t all always get our preferred courses. So we’ll see what happens.

    But, in the meantime, here’s what’s on our syllabus. The books that all sections of the course have in common:

    Hosseini, The Kite Runner (summer reading)
    Bronte, Jane Eyre
    Shakespeare, Othello
    Spiegelman, Maus, vol. 1
    Ibsen, A Doll’s House

    And then the various teachers are finding it difficult to agree beyond that, so we’re each going to do our own thing. Here are my additions:

    Kingston, The Woman Warrior
    Kafka, “The Metamorphosis”
    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Purple Hibiscus [an excellent Nigerian novel]
    and a short story unit on magical realism, with an emphasis on Latin American stories

    Now, what’s missing here is poetry, which is a major omission; but there’s only so much that we can fit into a single year. And if we’re going to keep Jane Eyre (which of course I love, and which is the novel that has *always* been taught in the 10th grade and is thus sacrosanct), then some other things just have to go.

    So what does your course include?


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