Traditionally, we welcome the summer with Memorial Day but over time that has crept forward so now the first weekend of May is considered the kickoff to the summer movie season even though the television season has weeks to go before winding down. Academically, no sooner does the spring semester end than my summer semester begins.
Wednesday saw my first four-hour session on Adolescent Literature and our professor turns out to be an award-winning librarian from the Bridgeport system. Only three English students signed up for this required course so the university is treating it more like an independent study which is fine by me. Prof. Williams handed us a syllabus that really piles on the work so we get a full semester’s reading and writing done in seven weeks.
When this course has been taught in the past, two teachers taught it in entirely different ways. One taught traditional works, such as Great Expectations, steeping us in literature about youth while the other, taught by the same woman who handled by Fantasy elective, concentrated on contemporary YA fiction so we have a better idea what the students themselves are reading. I obviously prefer the latter approach since it is far more relevant to my career aspirations. Still, I read Dickens’ classic earlier this spring just to be on the safe side.
Fortunately, Professor Williams followed Connie Rockman’s approach. YA literature tends to read a bit faster than adult lit so I should stay atop of the work. From our assigned reading lists I see several titles that I have already read based on their use at the high school which gives me some perspective. And I will finally have the opportunity to read some Sir Terry Pratchett since he appears on a list of authors where I need to pick one, read three of their works and prepare an oral presentation.
Other than our final paper, nothing written will be longer than 2-5 pages which will be manageable. Our final paper is actually a thoughtful consideration of selecting a topic of interest to teens and compile ten works from across the genres to demonstrate how the topic can be covered in a class setting. We’re encouraged to actually talk to students at our schools to find out current concerns on their minds and use that for inspiration.
I’m trying to work ahead and stay ahead so I don’t get stressed and so far, so good.