Wednesday, October 12, 2011

And then a little of both

There's good news and bad news this week.

The good:  Schedules are up for next semester already.  This is also slightly bad because it means the semester is almost over.  Yikes.

The bad:  The teaching YA lit class is not being offered in the education department, as their catalog said it would.  The catalog listed it as a spring class, it had been taught as a spring class for 10 years...and then this year they decided to do fall instead.

The good:  There is an "adolescent literature" class being taught in the undergrad level.  I can take it as a directed reading and do a couple extra projects for the class to bring it up to grad level intensity.

The bad:  Most of the novels taught (if she uses the exact same syllabus as last time) are already canonical works.  Are you ready for this?  Fahrenheit 451, Lord of the Flies, Mockingbird, A Separate Peace, The Hobbit, and Catcher in the Rye [though admittedly, I've never read that last one, so that will be fun].  I'm pretty disappointed, though I guess I shouldn't be surprised.  In my opinion, this list represents the general attitude of skepticism towards YA texts I've experienced here.  For such a large school in a progressive area, their attitudes towards YA Fiction are anything but progressive.  There are a few more recent works: Stargirl and Hunger Games.   But the "newer" stuff is quite outnumbered.

A little of both:  One of my extra projects will be to teach a class for one day.  It will be a good dusting-off-the-ol'-teaching-chops for me

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I couldn't decide on a title, either.

I come to you again with the discussion of my research project.  I think I'd like to tackle legitimizing young adult literature as a genre with valuable literature for study.  It's a big concept, and I'm not sure I'd be able to comprehensively address it, but for now, I'm exploring the idea.

I'd like to argue that there are Young Adult Literature texts that are good enough to teach on their own merits, without any need for legitimizing them as partner texts to canonical works.  In order to do that, I think I'll take a novel and dig into it over the course of my discussion.  I do have a couple options for this (The Hunger Games and The Book Thief first come to mind).

But since I'm delightfully indecisive, I'd also like your input (I readily admit I am nowhere near the YAL guru I'd like to be).  If you were going to choose a novel that offered valuable themes and literary techniques to teach within a high school classroom, a novel that you felt addressed not only the state standards but your own as well, which text would you choose?