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Wuthering Heights, x

Lockwood guesses at Heathcliff’s self-education in his absence.
sizar’s seat 
Earn honors by drawing blood refers to soldiering.
Making a fortune more promptly on the English highways refers to Highwaymen.

Note Cathy’s reception of Heathcliff, and the physical description of Heathcliff next to Linton harkens back to the soul comparisons of chapter nine; the physical mirrors the internal.

Notice that Nelly Dean is the voice of reason for Catherine. In a sense, Nell can be thought of as fulfilling functions of the Greek chorus.

“Good night — I’m an angel!” An angel of hell, maybe.

Do you feel Catherine is sincere in her warning to Isabella by describing Heathcliff, “an unreclaimed creature, without refinement, without cultivation; an arid wilderness of furze and whinstone” (89)? He’d crush you like a sparrow’s egg.

WH is a work that epitomizes atmospherics.  (When I was a kid in the sixties, by this time of 2017, science-fiction promised us transporters that would allow us to materialize elsewhere: I wish this were the case, and that we could take a field trip to these moors: the wind and the gritty mist and the roughness of gorse and the jutting stones would bring this home quickly to your skin and blood into the knowing.)

“You are worse than twenty foes, you poisonous friend” (90).

Nell attempts to corroborate the character assessment to Isabella, who will have none of it: we know where this is going, hey? One order of situational irony, coming right up: served hot, or cold?

“He is a bird of ill omen…Honest people don’t hide their deeds.”

Heathcliff looks at Isabella as if she was a centipede from the Indies, but soon notes “She’s her brothers heir, is she not?” (93). We guess at his motive, even if we do not recall Lockwood’s wondering how Heathcliff became landlord of the Grange and the Heights.

Syllabus 11th grade English

Comprehensive English, grade 11
K. Andersen

With the switch from California Standards to Common Core, the curriculum this year is in a somewhat fluid state.  This syllabus serves as a guideline to what will be covered within the year, with the timing and sequence to be updated online, electronically, as events warrant.

We at Arroyo are a college-oriented culture: this course will focus on preparing the student for any level of college, trade school, or career.

I expect to cover these works over the course of the year:
Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
Into The Wild, John Krakauer
Time permitting, more works from the board-approved list may be covered. In addition, there will be short readings:
Supplemental readings of poetry.
Nonfiction articles in support of persuasive and argumentative writing and college preparatory reading.

The essay
This year’s focus will be on the argumentative essay in which the student will state or side with an opinion and support this with evidence, reasoning, experience, and observation.

The journal
A daily informal writing of one hundred words.
The topics will largely be the student’s choice, with the primary focus of reflection, i.e., “What did I learn today? What did I experience today? How does this relate to what I already know?”
Occasionally, topics will be mandatory.

The student will be expected to present to the class on topics both prepared for and random.
These speeches will be one to two minutes and will be graded on clarity and the avoidance of verbal static, e.g., “Uhhhhh,” “You know?”

There are three criteria for the acceptance of late work:
The absence is due to an incapacitating illness or difficulty, i.e., the student is physically or emotionally unable to do the work.
The student is unable to access ahs.schoolloop.com and therefore has not been informed of the assignment.
The acceptance of late work will require a conference that in the least will be a phone call or email, and at the most a personal meeting that may include counselor or administrator.
TO BE CLEAR: If the student has been informed of the due date and the specifications, and has access to the materials, and the student is not incapacitated, the due date applies.

Printers are not provided in this classroom.
It is advised that any assignment that must be typed be printed 24 hours before deadline, so printer malfunctions such as “We ran out of ink” can be corrected.
An emailed assignment is not a substitution for a hard copy.

Absenteeism is a pervasive problem in this “mental health day” culture.
Be aware that an hour-long lecture explaining difficulties of the material – often enhanced by the asking of good questions – cannot be reproduced.
In short: some assignments cannot be made up.

If I have marked a student absent in error, he or she has 24 hours to bring the error to my attention for correction. Check schoolloop attendance daily, and promptly respond to any Teleparent notification of absence.

If a student is tardy, he or she will be assigned a five-minute class detention at period’s end, at which time he or she will watch as I correct attendance.

The use of recording devices in the classroom without teacher permission is prohibited (See CA Ed Code 51512 and CA Penal Code 630-632). Additionally, some parents/guardians do not want their son or daughters to be recorded. If a student wishes to record classroom proceedings, he or she must request permission on a case-by-case basis. Simply stated: ask first.
This includes but is not limited to photo, video, or audio recording.

Our goal at Arroyo is to provide a student with the curiosity, desire, and ability to advance his or her education as far as possible.
Unfortunately, there is a pervasive notion in America that a formal education is worthless and a “street” education leads to a superior career choice.  This often includes the disparagement of the curriculum, lesson, or teacher in a disrespectful and disruptive outburst. Disruptions of this kind may hinder the learning of serious students or those with special needs.
While the student is free to question lesson design in a respectful manner – which may need to take place during “office hours” or in conference – a disruption of the class may lead to an overall grade no higher that deficient, i.e., D.
A disruptive student will be warned clearly and parent/guardian as well as administration will be apprised of the situation, and corrective action will be expected in accord with the district’s policy of “restorative justice.”
The best rule of thumb: there is an appropriate time, place. and manner in which to express an opinion. If it is not appropriate during instructional minutes, the student and I will negotiate an appointment at class end.

The contact information in the header is arranged in order of effectiveness of prompt receipt and return. Please contact me for any clarification you may need.

It’s like that.


Billy Collins

Glancing over my shoulder at the past,
I realize the number of students I have taught
is enough to populate a small town.

I can see it nestled in a paper landscape,
chalk dust flurrying down in winter,
nights dark as a blackboard.

The population ages but never graduates.
On hot afternoons they sweat the final in the park
and when it’s cold they shiver around stoves
reading disorganized essays out loud.
A bell rings on the hour and everybody zigzags
into the streets with their books.

I forgot all their last names first and their
first names last in alphabetical order.
But the boy who always had his hand up
is an alderman and owns the haberdashery.
The girl who signed her papers in lipstick
leans against the drugstore, smoking,
brushing her hair like a machine.

Their grades are sewn into their clothes
like references to Hawthorne.
The A’s stroll along with other A’s.
The D’s honk whenever they pass another D.

All the creative-writing students recline
on the courthouse lawn and play the lute.
Wherever they go, they form a big circle.

Needless to say, I am the mayor.
I live in the white colonial at Maple and Main.
I rarely leave the house. The car deflates
in the driveway. Vines twirl around the porch swing.

Once in a while a student knocks on the door
with a term paper fifteen years late
or a question about Yeats or double-spacing.
And sometimes one will appear in a windowpane
to watch me lecturing the wallpaper,
quizzing the chandelier, reprimanding the air.

“Will I miss anything important?”: About absences

Did I Miss Anything?

Tom Wayman

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

     Everything. I gave an exam worth
     40 percent of the grade for this term
     and assigned some reading due today
     on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
     worth 50 percent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

     Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
     a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
     or other heavenly being appeared
     and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
     to attain divine wisdom in this life and
     the hereafter
     This is the last time the class will meet
     before we disperse to bring the good news to all people
          on earth.

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

     Everything. Contained in this classroom
     is a microcosm of human experience
     assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
     This is not the only place such an opportunity has been

     but it was one place

     And you weren’t here

From Did I Miss Anything? Selected Poems 1973-1993, 1993
Harbour Publishing

Re-Imagining the Comprehensive High School

Re-Imagining the Comprehensive High School

What is the “authentic problem” of poetry?

Teaching philosophy: Simplify, memorize, apply.

I come from a background of training in organizations in which one is called upon to recall information and complete tasks during stressful conditions. The EMT uses acronyms and abbreviations such as AVPU and APAIL in order to run through a memorized checklist and efficiently classify the patient’s condition. The infantry soldier likewise uses training standards such as SPORTS to clear a weapons stoppage under fire.

In English, I try to simplify the processes and definitions into memorizable units, which I ask the students to master by rote.  Then we apply.

Repetitio est mater studiorum: Repetition is the mother of learning.

(In the classroom, I demonstrate the techniques and standards as they are taught, adding the elements of the physical, the choreography of it: this is one reason why the teacher and the classroom are crucial, and simply reading my blog is an incomplete experience.)



An idea for journaling. I like the half-lined format as I am a diagrammer and sketcher.

You may use a spiral notebook or a composition book or loose-leaf sheets, or run your idea by me.