Woo-hoo. I have finished all my preparations and I am ready for school. It's only taken me eight days with a minimum of ten hours a day to get done, but I am now prepared to start.
Some of my classes start Monday. One doesn't start until 9/6. But I have finished my syllabi. Major revisions on my college freshman English class. Two new syllabi for 8/9 and 10/11 grade English.
I have a few thoughts on English education. They involve grammar and classroom hours.
Why does a high school English teacher still need to teach grammar? I am teaching grammar, literature, writing, and vocabulary in three hours a week. The courses are supposed to be modeled on college, moving the students in that direction. If we are going to model it on college, couldn't I at least drop grammar? The book weighs a ton. (Teacher books are twice the size of student books.)
Also, I am teaching “like college,” but my class has twice or four times the subjects of a college English class. First semester freshman English is only writing. Second semester freshman English is writing and literature. There are no classes at the college level in which all four subjects are taught at the same time. Granted I have had a college grammar course, but the only other component of the class besides grammar was one paper. I've expected my students to know vocabulary or given them a list of vocabulary words they might not know, but I've never had it as a regular integral part of an English class on the college level. In fact, only at the community college have I ever done anything with vocabulary.
So I am teaching a class of four different subjects and I am teaching it in three hours. I can't even give separate grades. I've just had to weight them differently. Grammar is about 10% of the class. Vocab 20%. Literature and writing are about 70% of the time in class, but only 50% of the final grade. However, the other 20% is the midterm and the final, both of which are essays over the literature. (Sneaky, aren't I?)
I still have a few pages to photocopy, but I would have finished those instead of writing this, but the school is closed and lowly teachers don't have keys.