Thursday, November 15, 2012

We Are So Behind

We are very lucky here in Central Virginia that Hurricane Sandy caused very little physical damage, and my prayers continue to go out to places like this town that had to cobble together uniforms to get to the playoffs when most kids weren't even living at home.

But we really couldn't afford those two days off.

I had planned for tenth grade to finish A Raisin in the Sun before Thanksgiving. Twelfth grade was going to read Beowulf by then. We haven't started A Raisin in the Sun, and I did read the first fifteen pages of Beowulf out loud today to last period.

The English department at school is moving toward a skill-based curriculum that emphasizes what students can do with texts rather than which texts they read. But I still think there are just some things every one should read -- if only to understand the allusions in headlines. I have three canonical texts for each class that I want us to read this year. We've gotten to one in tenth grade and fifteen pages into the first one in twelfth grade. At this rate, Shakespeare will have to happen over summer break.

Other teachers, does this happen to you? What do you do to stay on track? Or have you mastered the art of knowing they're mastering the skills and the texts themselves truly don't matter?

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