The classroom is part of the process through which students discover who they are and what their place will be in the world. Senior year is a significant stage in the journey from adolescence to adulthood, from dependence to independence, from innocence to experience. The comfort of students’ preconceptions will be challenged in this course by reading the stories of others’ journeys, thus pushing them toward constant self-reevaluation. For instance, the conception of love that is portrayed in the media does not prepare us for the complicated reality we must face; it may be that we are often unaware of the human nature that links love and hate so closely. Furthermore, humans, and more specifically, children, often act impulsively. We cannot foresee the forgiveness and redemption we may be compelled to seek in our futures. We cannot always know, innately, when to conform and when to rebel, particularly if we do not open our minds to the stories of others, especially others of different cultures, lifestyles, and beliefs. This course prepares students to learn and think in new and different ways about the complex world in which they live. When they are surprised by disruptions to their consciousness, these disruptions may be difficult. However, challenges to reevaluate have the power to lead to awareness and the ability to consider when awareness must move toward action. Students will ultimately look ahead to their futures recognizing the implications of their actions and the effect they have on others. After all, to quote Mitch Albom, the author with whom we close the year, “…the human spirit knows, deep down, that all lives intersect.”
In English 12, students will reflect on the diverse stories of others as a means to self-reflection regarding the paired themes of innocence and experience; love and hate; conformity and rebellion; and forgiveness and redemption. The dominant theme of the first anchor text in unit one of the course is innocence and experience, but it also touches on the other three thematic pairs of the course. In each of these subsequent three units, students will read at least one full-length text that delves deeper into each of the other thematic pairs as dominant focal points. Students will compose a personal narrative (college essay); engage in a problem-based research paper; write other argumentative and analytical essays; deliver a dramatic performance; and present a final project that has both oral and multimedia components.