In loving memory of the FHS English Department

When we made the switch last year from block scheduling to period scheduling, a lot of things changed, and some of it was for the better. For many students, new classes were added to the field they intended to go into, like business and construction.

For other students, however, their favorite departments were gutted, flipped upside down, and are now left out of the conversation entirely. The English department is one of those departments.

Even before we switched to an eight period day, the English department wasn’t exactly something to be proud of. Don’t get me wrong– We have some amazing English teachers who I’ve seen go above and beyond to make their classrooms the kind of classrooms I want to be in. But honestly, their talents are being wasted here.

Before administration decided to throw block scheduling into the trash, it was slim pickings for people interested in English like I am. While people interested in courses like construction, social sciences, and business had an onslaught of electives to pick from, I had the option of choosing journalism, and then junior and senior year I could take Honors English.

Other than that, the only English classes I could take were the required ones. As someone who plans to major in English and Creative Writing in college and then intends to pursue a career in English, it’s always been incredibly frustrating to think that high school really hasn’t done much to prepare me for my future.

Even then, I’d definitely rather go back and deal with the bare bones English program Fairbury Public Schools provided during a four period day than the English department now in an eight period day.

While the school has added more options and better prepared students aspiring to take on fields like agriculture and business, they’ve set back students aspiring to pursue careers in English.

One of the biggest issues that administration and the school board has failed to realize is that students who have the initiative to take Honors English, an advanced college class, are also forced to retake basically the same class at a lower level.

For example, my junior year I took Honors I, a composition class, in place of taking English III, a composition and literature class. I was excited to take an advanced class in my favorite field because I thought it would be more intellectually stimulating than just the regular required English class.

When administration was preaching how much more beneficial period scheduling would be to students, however, they failed to mention how the Honors English classes would only be offered for a semester, and as a result of that students who wanted to take Honors English classes would also have to take English III and English IV respectively.

Basically, after passing Honors I with an A, I still had to waste my time taking English IV, another composition class, just at a less advanced level. I had no choice but to basically retake a class I’d already passed for college credit.

To make this whole ordeal even more pathetic, there are no other options for these students. It’s either take the normal required English class, or take the advanced class for college credit and the required class. The only way I could see Fairbury Public Schools justifying this fail would be if there were more English electives offered for students who wanted to avoid taking the same class twice, like creative writing or a children’s literature class.

Almost every other department at school has been enhanced or altered in order to benefit the students interested in that field, but the English department has just been driven into the ground.

As someone who is planning my entire future around my love for English, I already feel discouraged knowing that my high school hasn’t prepared me for college or my future. Rest in peace, Fairbury Public Schools English department– You’ll be forever missed.