On this weekend before the start of my 10th year of teaching, I'm excited. I sort of wish I had another couple of weeks to get everything done (I'm only on page 150 of Wild Swans, which is reading like required reading, which it is for my senior students in a text we chose in conjunction with History class), but my room is pretty much set up and the year is about to begin.
We've done some re-vamping to our 9th grade curriculum, and I'm rather excited about. In the first quarter, while the 9th graders are learning about Psychology in Humanities class down the hall, we will be studying two texts that look at the psychology of how people end up how they are, specifically how trauma and conflict make us into the people we are today. We'll be linking Persepolis and Fences, and I'm so excited; students will write their Psychology essay at the end of the unit about one of the two characters, and turn in the essay to both teachers.
Our second unit will be about the Journey, and we'll be linking Catcher in the Rye and The Odyssey. I haven't taught Catcher in the Rye since I was student teaching in Lansing ten years ago, and I'm excited to pick it up again to teach. I obviously like the book a lot, as my dog's name is Holden! We unfortunately don't have enough textbooks to send home The Odyssey, so I'm less excited about that.
Third quarter will see students reading a Literary Circles novel, with choices from such authors as Yann Martel, Julia Alvarez, and Shyam Selvadurai. Fourth quarter will see us return to the staple of Romeo and Juliet.
I feel like I was so concentrated on the new course of the seniors, along with National Board, that my freshmen last year didn't get as good of an experience as I would have liked. I want to re-focus on them a bit more this year.
That being said, the seniors will be a huge part of my year as well. I'm still tinkering with the curriculum -- I'm teaching Richard III, Much Ado About Nothing, James Baldwin essays, Song of Solomon, and The White Tiger, all for sure, and considering adding Tim Winton's Cloudstreet and Jamaica Kincaid's Lucy. Those two are close to being definites, and the last choice will either be a repeat of Oryx and Crake from last year, or a novel by Roddy Doyle or V.S. Naipaull. I have about a week to decide for sure.
In all, though, I'm very excited for the year, and hoping it's one of my best yet.
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