CURRICULAR CHANGE-UPS: English teacher Jane Bauman plans on threading nonfiction with literature, exploring narrator’s role with juniors

Bianca Hansen
English teacher Jane Bauman reads a passage in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in  her regular junior English class.

English teacher Jane Bauman has taught junior English six times, sometimes sharing the grade level with former English teacher Ron Bell. This will be Bauman’s first year back with the juniors since 2013-14.

Bauman said that she will continue to follow junior AP English teacher Patricia Fels’s model of combining literature with nonfiction reading and writing.

Bauman’s assigned reading list will also be similar to Fels’s, featuring titles such as “Julius Caesar” by William Shakespeare, “All My Sons” by Arthur Miller, “Ethan Frome” by Edith Wharton, and “This Is How You Say Goodbye,” a memoir by Victoria Loustalot, ‘03.

But in some cases Bauman has replaced Fels’s books with alternates. For example, Bauman will teach “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald instead of “The Sun Also Rises” by Ernest Hemingway, and “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett instead of “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut.

Furthermore, Bauman prefers using “Life Stories: Profiles from the New Yorker” instead of a traditional writing textbook. Bauman said that the essays featured in “Life Stories” are “interesting and excellent models” for students.

[related title=”Related Stories” stories=”25643,25715″ align=”right” background=”on” border=”none” shadow=”on”]

Another change is the addition of “The Marrow of Tradition” by Charles Waddell Chesnutt in place of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, which Bauman had assigned in past years. History teacher Dahmany Fisher suggested this fictional account of the rise of a white supremacist movement and how it contributed to race riots in the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898.

Bauman said that she immediately saw how much better her class would be with the book.

“It has something to offer on every level: literature, history, timeliness,” Bauman said. “In fact, in the aftermath of this summer’s protests in Charlottesville, this novel will really resonate. I expect our discussions will be lively.”

Bauman said that through these books, her class will explore the role of the narrator.

“In each work of literature we read, the narrator has a different voice and role,” Bauman said. “I hope students will see that a study of the narrator has wide applications to telling stories on film and through other media.”

On top of that, Bauman said that her students will raise their reading level, improve their critical thinking skills and increase their understanding of grammar and vocabulary by writing a variety of essays that incorporate the rhetorical patterns they learned in sophomore year.

After reviewing their summer reading, juniors will move to a unit on drama, then focus on nonfiction and end the year with literature. Bauman said that the idea of tragedy will run through all three units.

“We’ll ask if the concept of tragedy in ‘Julius Caesar’ also works in ‘Ethan Frome,’” Bauman said. “We’ll also consider how the passages that describe a remembered person or a remembered event in ‘My Ántonia’ are related to similar nonfiction passages.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email