Novels to be read:
Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson
The Boy Book - E. Lockhart
Someone Like You - Sarah Dessen (I finally picked a girl book!)
Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green & David Levithan
King Dork - Frank Portman
King of the Screw-Ups - K.L. Going
We will watch The Breakfast Club at the start of the term, as a way to just leap right in and also as a way to talk about stereotypes, adult/teenager power differentials, and the rise of teen-oriented media.
My So-Called Life: two of the first three episodes, and "Life of Brian" (which is focalized by that adorable Brian Krakow and is the one where they go to the school dance).
Glee: "Preggers" (the "single ladies" episode; Kurt joins the football team & comes out to his dad); "Wheels" (about life in a wheelchair; fundraising; Artie) and "The power of Madonna."
Daria: episodes TBA
Huge (if available): episodes TBA. I may only use one, maybe two episodes of Huge, but probably the very first episode.
We'll do some secondary reading as well - I may force them to read some of G. Stanley Hall's insanity-inducing Adolescence (he coined the term! and believes in Lamarckian evolution! and eugenics!). But we'll definitely read some other stuff: if I can find them, good essays on Fat Acceptance, Queer adolescence, Music & Adolescence.
I discovered a truly astonishing pop culture blog recently (made more astonishing by the fact that its incredibly prolific and talented writer was in college when he began it) with a brilliant essay on Brian Krakow as the best teenage loser of all time; it deals nicely with Brian in the context of the show, and in the larger context of teenage losers in media.
I have a jolly article from a few years ago about "Kids Today get an A+ in Narcissism," which should provoke SOME decent discussion. Unless the Kids Today in my class are so narcissistic that they can't even discuss something so....not about them, personally.
In the books and such we've got:
death of teenager
death of parent
coming out to parents, friends, self
Relationship Angst of the highest order
girls being accused of being sluts
girls being pressured to have sex
girls having all their friends (and the whole school, even!) turn on them
bullying of varying degrees of physicality, up to and including braining our protagonist and landing him in the hospital with possible (very minor) brain damage
Body Image Issues
Queerness, queerness and more queerness
the perils of being Hot
the perils of being a Dork
Guns in School
it's a fiesta of Issues.
For quite awhile, at New college, there was a dumpster behind the cafeteria. someone had spray-painted on it: WE'VE GOT ISSUES.
I think of this often. And it essentially sums up the Young Adult genre as a whole.
I am delighted and excited and absolutely, 100% geeked-out over my class. I haven't finished ordering the readings/viewings or selecting secondary readings, but the bulk of the class is in place, and I'm ecstatic.
let's hope the Kids Today don't let me down.....