I’ve been a high school English teacher for 3 years and a comics fan for three decades. Now, at long last, these two worlds have collided.
At the end of last school year they asked me what elective I wanted to teach. I had been teaching Journalism, but it’s a small school, and after a certain point pretty much everyone’s already taken Journalism. I said, “How about History of the American Comic Book?” That was clearly a joke, because that’s a name for a college course, not a high school elective. But instead of laughing they said, “Hmmmm, we’ll see.”
I waited through the summer to hear what my schedule would be for the new year. I tried not to get my hopes up—the minute I assumed I was going to teach comics, I knew I would end up with a class on proper punctuation. But then, on a fateful day in July, I got an email confirming that my fellow English teacher would be teaching Creative Writing, and I would be teaching Creative Reading. Creative Reading, AKA Graphic Novels.
I was immediately thrilled and terrified. Thrilled because, again, dream class, but terrified because I’ve never taught this before, because I don’t want to screw it up, and because I have no idea how to get piles and piles of graphic novels for the students to read.
I’ve still got a couple of weeks to figure out how to score some books, but in the meantime I can get started planning the class. That’s where this blog comes in. I will be recording my thinking process, and hopefully people out there will chime in with suggestions.
In two weeks—two weeks!—class will start, and then I’ll keep a record of how it’s going. My comics class will be your comics class. So let’s get brainstorming.