Because college curriculum is not as constrained, UW in the High School opens the possibility to diversify student perspectives through reading and writing assignments. And David does just that.
UW in the High School gives me freedom to adapt and evolve the curriculum for my students. Teaching with UW in the High School makes me a better human, a better teacher.— David Vinson
David Vinson has taught English composition through UW in the High School since 2001. During his time with the program, he’s appreciated the opportunity to introduce his students to literature that more closely reflects their lived experiences — one of the advantages of the freedom that teaching in UWHS affords.
“In our school, if students take a junior English class, they’re all going to be doing Catcher in the Rye at the same time,” said David, who teaches at Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien. “I don’t have those constraints, so there are more perspectives of women, people of color, different faiths and different life experiences. The reading’s more accessible to the kids because they’re seeing themselves, someone they know or an experience they can relate to in the writing.”
The diverse array of reading options informs the students’ own writing for English 131, the five-credit UW composition course David teaches.
“When students read stories where they recognize their own lives, it’s much easier for them to apply what they’ve read and write about things they probably didn’t know they wanted to write about,” David said. “But now they do.”
UW in the High School helps David’s students prepare themselves for college, both with the credit they accrue and the writing and analytical skills they develop as they write, edit and revise English 131’s five required papers.
“The program allows students to get some college experience under their belts — what it’s like to deal with some high-stress, high-stakes situations at the end of the class when they’re finishing their portfolios,” David said. “Colleges ask you to challenge yourself before you go off to college, and UW in the High School does that.”