What Did You Read in High School?

usfpoeI had to stop myself from pressing “Post” last night on my Facebook status. It was 1 in the morning and for some reason I was recalling the memory of my high school English class. This was ninth grade, before I switched to the collegiate high school where I was granted a considerably greater amount of freedom regarding what I could read for school credit. Anyway, in ninth grade, my teacher stood in front of the class and explained to us what her curriculum was like. This was not only an honors class, but was in fact a “gifted” class, filled with those of us who had been part of the gifted program for seven or eight years.

Our teacher informed us that she would not be assigning any books or novels for us to read in her class because she wanted us to “spend more time with our families” (way to go, Florida educational system). She had no real reason to teach us anything, seeing as how we were guaranteed to do well on standardized tests with little effort. In fact, looking back I’m actually appalled at the instances in which my “gifted” class was assigned to an utterly incompetent, uninteresting teacher, based upon the fact that she or he would be less likely to suffer from a class that tested poorly.

All of the above is besides the point, though I thought I would articulate my freshman year experience more fully for added effect, I suppose. Most of the other 9th grade classes were reading Romeo and Juliet or To Kill a Mockingbird (the other classes also got to make a Romeo and Juliet “movie” as an assignment, and I was so jealous that I made my own with a few friends, even though my work wasn’t going to be graded. My friends didn’t know this at the time…). It seems like Shakespeare and Harper Lee are staples of high school reading lists, commonly found in the “Back to School!” section of Barnes and Noble Booksellers every summer and fall.

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