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It sometimes feels like there are limited opportunities to be exciting in the literature classroom. How many times can I read something aloud by one of the masters, remove my glasses, and say how about that, kids? We’re not as marketable as the action of PE, the fire and bubbles of chemistry, the sparks of man arts, the beyond 2000-vibe of 3D printers and robotics of business. American state university english is a compulsory subject, which means not everyone will succeed or like it. My previous school’s english department had a banner made for open day that proudly threatened students see you there! (in retrospect, this also said a lot about the HOD’s cynical sense of humour.

So what do we sell, and how do we make it more exciting? Even though we’re not marketing ourselves against other subjects, we kind of are, and are definitely marketing against other schools.

How does a classroom whose subject matter honestly had its first and last innovation in the invention of the printing press be genuinely innovative? And, mind you, in a way that genuinely speaks to the kids and excites them for english?

Anyone who suggests an app or super! Online! Website! To write with is trying to profit from your kids and should be escorted off the property immediately. The magic in our classroom can be created merely through ink and paper; yes word processing, I hear you: I am happy to argue the point about students retaining more information when they hand write, and put more care into their craft.

I have watched creativity in the english classroom be quickly sucked out before we’d had a chance to debate whether what we were changing was good for our kids. There is no place in the curriculum for writing a story from scratch. Yes, we teach creative writing, but there must be hoops for students to leap through. It has to be a certain genre, length, be influenced by a novel or poem, use a specific amount of metaphors, or similes. It has to be inventive, but can’t stray too far from the genre studied in class. It should have the right balance between action, description, and dialogue, because if it doesn’t, the teacher can’t mark you on how well you’ve demonstrated all of the above. All of the above are listed clearly on the criteria sheet. Make sure you mimic a style properly. There are formulas and outlines we provide. Perhaps we are trying to avoid an adolescent version of the terrors of the blank page. Experiment? Yes, if you’re trying for an A, but don’t be weird about it.

How do other schools expand their kids’ exposure to amazing things about their subject? Most of it involves money, which is an itchy, contestable topic to raise in a state system. Not only that, english doesn’t really get the show pony budget that music instruments and machinery and ovens demand.

This all comes after we have taken a select group of year 10 students to the ever-wonderful word play festival, a part of the brisbane writers festival. Why selected students? Well, we figured we wouldn’t want to drag students who don’t want to be there. We made it a ‘reward’ for those who were brave, keen, or foolhardy enough to sample a trial of a literature-style english, before the new 2019 syllabuses kick in. In fact, such a reward, that the school would cover the budget for their entry tickets. All they would need to do was pay for transport to and from the venue.

What’s the process and cost of this simple venture? Yes, it costs the school money, but it’s really faculty money in this case. List of best universities in india think of all the resources a department needs to purchase – class sets of novels, plays, textbooks, poetry anthologies, photocopying. No surprise most of our money is thrown at novels. (class sets, because you cannot expect students to purchase their textbooks in many state schools for family budget reasons, and students hire out key texts each year). Our day with 50 students cost our faculty $1200. We took 2% of the school away for a day, and the monetary cost to our budget was huge. That doesn’t take into consideration the supply teachers to cover our classes; that the faculty also has to pay for.

Absolutely. They learned how to creative specific, the differences in the processes of writing TV scripts to novels, why it’s important to know whose story you’re okay with telling, and complex issues surrounding gender, identity and acceptance. I couldn’t fit that in weeks of teaching if I tried; they experienced it in 4 hours. They listened to well-respected, published writers, some only a little older than themselves. They sought autographs, took photos.

But this is one day a year. Top universities in florida it is so decontextualised, so detached from our daily routine, that we don’t rewrite our curriculum around what they’ve been exposed to. 20 or 30 years ago, that would have been possible as the festival program shifted each year. What better time to play with creative a speculative fiction world that right after your moment of inspiration? Sorry kids, but your assessment is due next week instead, and it’s on southern literature. You’ve already done spec fic in year 9, anyway.

One day a year. If the pool was limitless, and the paperwork not so limiting, we would be getting writers in residence out of universities, from bestseller lists. We would buy shelves of novels that students would read at leisure in the classroom. Oh, and nice editions of novels too, not just mass market paperbacks. We’d have time in the curriculum to just talk about books we’ve loved – without having to ever analyse what they mean. There would be time for play with novels, and poems, and drawing pictures inspired by these.

Would we have time for a visit to a publisher’s office, perhaps, to discover the machinations and politics behind publishing choices. We would’ve subscribed as a faculty to all the following long ago: the monthly, griffith review, masterclasses and online writers courses, the queensland writers centre. There would be monthly trips to the state library for students to research their current interests, and live like a practicing writer for a day.

While we’re at it, I wouldn’t mind some comfy bean bags to lounge around. These simple objects are considered a little foreign and unusual in a high school classroom, feeling a little too primary-school-esque, or the domain of the hippy teacher. Kids of all ages love to ask to read while sitting on the floor. Do you know when that carpet was last cleaned?

I am well aware of the power of a mere notebook and pen; if you’re in the right socio-economic area, these items turn into a beautiful notebook and nice-feeling pen. Where’s the welcoming gift of a fresh moleskine notebook for each student? To tap into that legacy of a century of classic writers and artists who have used this notebook? What a treasured remembrance that would be – if any of us wished to treasure our tortured teenage musings, anyway.

Books don’t cost much, but sets of them do. And all of this has to be justified to be appropriate, and actually taught. They can’t be just read for fun, you know. And the minute you think about taking a precious child off campus, it is more than just a quick permission slip. Amrcan it’s risk assessment (yes, even to a library), medical forms, contacting other teachers, making sure that your simple day out doesn’t interfere with the rest of the school calendar. If there are entry fees, it all must be costed and zoomed through spreadsheets. Teachers are not finance officers, but are expected to be as knowledgeable as one come excursion time. By the way, I’ve checked the english faculty budget and we can’t cover their cost of entry. We just don’t have that kind of money.