Shakespeare and High School English Teachers

If Shakespeare’s plays were meant to be watched then why do English teachers seem to be so obsessed with them? We spend all 4 years of high school reading something that was not even meant to be read! We study them so intensely though they are not novels and were copied off of other stories. I understand that he was very famous and influential and I do enjoy his plays but am curious as to why our school system seems to be so Shakespeare obsessed.

The Nekyia

(On ending another semester teaching Shakespeare)



Now unlooked whisperskin leaves dry. Now choke

on fear trapped words, magister, (another fuck).

Now halt haunting and bathing words in blood-cloak;

Tireseas is gone and you’re still stuck

Shift-settling syllabi in your sleep,

Now butterfly-wondering, do I dream?

Now sacrifice is done, your words they’ll keep

Like ashes and dust scattered on the stream.

But one, but two… You remember faces

Emerged, while you played priest and filled the trough,

From midnight mist and all the hopeless places,

Then gazed, then spoke, then laughed, and then broke off.

I teach to know the shadows flicker-still,

The living and the dead, are one in will.

Final Paper Rubric EN3020/EN233

Some people have been asking where this can be found – I’ve put it up under the Content>Administration section.

You can also see it below:




Voice, Tone, Style

Argumentation, Organization, Structure

Understanding of the Text/Course Material

F Range The paper demonstrates no comprehension of the mechanics required by academic English.  Numerous minor errors and some major errors appear throughout the paper.  Sentence construction and mechanics are well below that expected at a university. No thesis exists.


The paper demonstrates little variety of sentence structure, as well as an inappropriate tone for an academic literature paper (e.g. colloquial).  The paper also demonstrates no apparent understanding of the relationship between audience and author/the purpose of the short essay genre/analysis. The paper demonstrates organization and structure that must be inferred by the reader as the author has taken no care to build an argument.  Major logical flaws throughout seriously hamper meaning.  The paper demonstrates total misunderstanding of the text in terms of genre, tone, character, plot.  Further, the paper demonstrates total misunderstanding of the terms of analysis brought up in class (e.g. New Historicism, protagonist, comedy).
D Range The paper demonstrates repeated major errors in mechanics that detract from the paper’s meaning.  This could be solved by running the paper through a spell-checker with some attention to detail No thesis exists. The paper demonstrates some variety of sentence structure.  Major digressions and/or an ineffective introduction and conclusion are often present.  Inappropriate tone in places mars the paper.  Consistent examples of generic errors (e.g. first person narrative rather than literary analysis) are present. Paragraphs are disjointed and lack logical connections.  Often paragraphs are digressions rather than supporting the thesis. Major misunderstandings of the text or misapplication of the concepts introduced in the lectures, yet these are ameliorated by a few examples where the text or concepts are used correctly.
C Range Significant issues that minimally obscure meaning and sense.  Could have been fixed with one more read through before handing in.Sentence construction and mechanics are what is expected at a university level. A thesis appears to exist, yet the topic is not effectively limited. (eg. The thesis is: “sexuality in this play is important.”  or “the playwright uses language in his plays.”) Voice and tone generically appropriate, yet there is no sense of individual style.

The paper demonstrates a basic understanding of the genre of the short essay/analysis.

Paragraphs connect logically in terms of structure, yet often the paper follows the structure of the argument without attention to the argument the student is trying to convey (e.g. The Five Paragraph or “Hamburger” paper). This paper demonstrates some misunderstandings of the text or misapplication of the concepts, which are largely balanced by correct application of the concepts or understanding of the text.
B Range There may be minor errors of mechanics in the paper, yet they do not detract from the paper’s argument.  Language is clear and precise. There is a thesis that takes a topic provable within the short length of the paper. The paper demonstrates voice and tone consistent and appropriate to the purposes of the short essay/analysis.  A variety of sentence structures support the argument.  Major points in the paper are divided into paragraphs and signaled by transitions.  Often, the student has done extra research to support the argument.  The argument is clear and persuasive. The paper demonstrates understanding of the text and the concepts developed in class.  The student then reapplies those concepts in a straightforward manner that does not deviate from class notes.
A Range Nothing that a decent editor can’t fix.  Not necessarily flawless, but a great deal of attention has clearly been paid to the mechanics of expression in the document. There is a thesis that takes a topic provable within the short length of the paper. Accomplished and variegated style where the student’s unique yet genre-appropriate voice can be detected Extra research supports the argument.  The paper is coherent, concise, and logically argued.  The paper demonstrates genuine insight into the topic at hand. Mastery of the text and the concepts developed in class are evident throughout.  The student reapplies and analyzes concepts and/or textual elements in a manner that stretches beyond the class lectures.