The greatest part of the Danish educational system is also the thing that is sometimes difficult to manage--- the FREEDOM. Now, don't get me wrong; I definitely DO NOT want the system to become less free, but after coming from a system where there is so much .....how can I say it nicely..... "guidance" from those in decision-making positions (i.e.: legislators), it is almost overwhelming when I sit and plan what literature I want to use with my students.
The reason it is overwhelming is that there is JUST SO MUCH from which to choose and I don't want to leave any out! In Texas there is a list of literature that must be read/shared/analyzed at each level of high school and then teachers have choice (within certain parameters) about what other books to use in their teaching, but we only have our students for one year in Texas (usually), so you realize that you have 2 selections MANDATED by the state, so that leaves room for 3-4 other choices within one year.
Now picture this--- I have my A-level English students for 3 years and during that 1st semester, we have them for a very number of lessons because they are in what is called "grundforløb" which is like a "basic, introductory course" that all Gymnasium students take, regardless of their study line. During that semester, you really only have time for MAYBE one novel.
So that means in the 5 remaining semesters, I have to plan out all the VERY BEST literature that I want them to experience. Now you see the overwhelming part.
There are some works that are the NO-brainers....the books that EVERY PERSON on the planet MUST read before he dies.... in fact, in my opinion, there are 3 of those and you can be darned tootin' (yeah, that is a total Texas phrase), we are reading them!
Now comes my dilemma.
I know what I have already read/shared with my students (who are now in their 3rd year) and what I plan to read/share with them for the remainder of the 2010-11 school year before I send them out into the big world.... but I am already thinking ahead to my students who are in their 2nd year as well as the students that I will get next August for a NEW THREE YEARS.....
That is where I need your help....
Here are the "others" on my list (either that we HAVE read or that we are GOING to read), but I feel like I have forgotten some of the GREATS...the ones that ALL people should read. (NOTE: I really want to use Pride & Prejudice as well as The Scarlet Letter, as a way to not only teach literature from those time periods, but because I believe their lessons are relevant for today; however, I want EVERYONE to fall in love with these works that I share, including the boys, so if anyone has a suggestion of HOW to make boys fall in love with Jane Austen, I am ALL EARS!)
1. Lord of the Flies
2. Animal Farm
3. Fahrenheit 451
4. Catcher in the Rye
5. Things Fall Apart
6. Night and/or First they killed my father (as representatives of the memoir and inter-disciplinary connections to history)
7. That was then, this is now and/or The Outsiders (as our literature in the "grundforløb" because all teachers are supposed to focus on the theme of Growing Up during this semester, plus this is their first semester of English at A-level so SE Hinton is a non-threatening way to enter the 3 year study....but I am open to other "Growing Up" novels.)
8. Shakespeare---he appears in the last semester of gymnasium and when you think about 2nd language learners (who are truly bilingual), I need suggestions of the 2 best works to share... I know what Kelli wants to use, but suggestions are WELCOMED! :-)
So now you see my dilemma.... there are SO many other works.... and I only have 3 years to help them fall in love with English literature and reading.... so I need a good sampling, the RIGHT sampling of the very BEST.
What book would you recommend to a person if there was only book he could read????