Love hurts. Breaking up is hard to do. For all the joy that relationships and friendships can bring, showing romantic interest, establishing boundaries, and expressing identities as partners and friends isn't easy for teens. They navigate an often ugly social universe. Even commonplace struggles can derail academic focus and harm emotional health.
English teachers hope to give students communication skills, a love of literature, a passport to an intellectually vibrant life rich in opportunity. Through discussions of canonical works of literature, assignment ideas, anecdotes from teaching, and student perspectives, this book outlines how an academically rigorous English class can also heal, empower, and provide wisdom for teens weathering storms in their social lives.
English class is health class. Widely taught novels brim with rich lessons about courtship, love, heartbreak, sexuality, bonds, and belonging. Learning to write stories, reflections, and arguments, speak confidently, and listen critically gives students powerful tools for self-expression, advocacy, and empathy in their relationships and friendships.
The stakes are high and the rewards far-reaching. Students with healthier social lives do better academically, but they also end up becoming more responsible, caring grown-ups capable of improving an adult society that too often feels unsafe and tragically bereft of compassion.