Hello fellow bloggers,
I’ve got an issue. Only now that I’m finishing off my high school days am I noticing a major flaw in the curriculum: WE LEARN ALL THE WRONG STUFF! I’m now discovering WAY too many literary works that would have benefited me and every other student struggling to fit into this crazy place. Don’t get me wrong here: classics like Death of a Salesman and To Kill a Mockingbird really awakened me to our society’s issue with race, gender and economical divides. I’m glad that school made me understand the roots of those issues and what they looked like years ago… although the texts and films I’m sharing today would have exposed students to these issues WHILE explaining how to survive their modern day repercussions on youth and beyond. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the actual materials that will prepare high school students for the real world.
Under-rated text #1: Before I Fall
Directed by: Russo-Young
It’s rightful rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐/5
I don’t understand how this movie isn’t more talked about. It’s like the more relatable, less graphic version of 13 Reasons Why with all the deep messages and none of the controversy. I’ll admit that some of the posh mansions, the huge and expensive looking high school building and the obviously fake kissing scenes detract from the films “believ-ability.” But with those minor technicalities aside…I have NEVER seen a thematic statement made as elegantly as this. Live your short life in a way that, at any instant, you could pass away but still be remembered positively. No student could have learned the importance of this message any better than through observing the protagonist’s relationships and mistakes. The plot twists in Sam’s life are REAL experiences that modern high school students go through: divorced parents, dating for superficial reasons, drowning in a sea of bullies and feeling too alone to raise your voice. Where was this movie when me and my friends were going through these problems for real? Teens need to understand why hurtful archetypes manifest themselves in high schools and how we can change for the better; this movie teaches that perfectly. I need #Before I Fall integrated into ELA & leadership classes #before it’s too late.
Under-rated text #2: Black Mirror’s San Junipero
Director: Owen Harris
Highest Rating: 90%
So this one is actually kinda over-rated…which is why it’s a wonder that it hasn’t been incorporated into school curriculum. It explores the story of a reserved girl struggling to come out (literally of the closet AND of the heterosexual engagement her family forced upon her.) She ends up finding a better relationship through virtual reality and is then faced with the moral question of whether eternally living this life with her new partner is fair to past generations who died without this technology. So basically, this episode would give struggling LGBTQ students a voice: be that a public voice to use as comfort when coming out or an internal dialogue helping them decide who they want to be. Regardless of sexual orientation, San Junipero would also teach all students the importance of independence in decision making (to a certain extent) and that’s a critical skill in the real world and work place. Furthermore, it would get them philosophizing about existentialism and the moral limits of technology…an increasingly relevant modern day matter as we shoot into the robot era. Could anyone name a more attractive way for youth to explore the high school curriculum than this inclusive, futuristic social criticism? I think not!
Under-rated text #3: The 100 (on the CW channel)
Director: Jason Rothenberg
Ratings: Pretty good…more on that in the review I did on the first season
Basically this show deeply explores what it means to be human all while thrilling viewers with action-past, “fighting-for-survival” scenes. The lessons on leadership are profound and would certainly benefit high school students as they enter the real world.
There’s also that one brilliant book, “Read Between the Lines” by Jo Knowles which I decided, in a novel review long ago, should be in the modern high school curriculum.
But it would be cheating to put it in this list because to be fair… I have seen this book marketed to the high school demographic in years of late. SO technically high school students are already benefiting from this book’s great lessons without changing up the whole system. So this is it for now…although I promise I’ll find way more books that (unfortunately) are not taught in the school system.
It’s sad to see such great potential go wasted but I can at least create recognition on this community…and you can too! Comment down below if you spot any relatable novels/films that you know would benefit modern day students.