English Electives

Iris Li looks at how the selection process for non-AP English juniors and seniors works


Iris Li, Editor

GraphsSeeing next year’s list of English electives is always an exciting moment for rising juniors and seniors. Instead of the unified English class, they now choose either an AP English class, an elective class, or take both. The English electives are designed for upper-class students to be able to study topics that genuinely interest and motivate them while familiarizing themselves with the college course selection process. The idea of this program is admirable. However, is this novel concept implemented two years ago serving its original purpose?

To find out the answer to this question, we need to take a closer look at the elective selection process, which determines the final elective for each student. Before the summer break, juniors and seniors receive a form to rank their preferences for each elective. The higher they rank an elective, the more probable they will be placed in the class. But speaking from my personal experience, this process does not always work. So, in order to find out the overall effectiveness of it, I sent out a survey to the juniors and seniors at Govs. I received 27 responses from the juniors and 17 responses from the seniors.

The short questions are “Do you have anything you want to say about the English electives selection process?” and “Do you have any suggestions for the elective selection process?” Among the 10 junior responses, many wrote that the English department should offer more American Study courses.

American studies is an elective provided only to juniors as a combination of American history and literature. The course fulfills the credit for both history and English classes. It is definitely a popular option among the juniors. Other responses from the juniors and seniors include, “All great electives and easy process” or “It is very unfair, my choice has not been considered on any level.” Opinions vary from person to person.
Mr.Satow, a member of the academic office which plans out schedules for students, agreed to read through the results of my survey and emailed me with some feedback. He explained that the office is always trying its best to serve the students’ interests, but it is also incredibly difficult to have everything work out all the time. Among his comments:

“There are an incredible amount of complexities that go into putting all the puzzle pieces together, including gathering how many sections of an elective a teacher is teaching, what other courses they are teaching, what room they are teaching in, what blocks they are teaching, among others. Additionally, for consistency, English teachers keep the same blocks for the year and switch elective topics at the semester.”

The process is indeed very intricate. However, Mr. Satow and the academic office are always willing “to sit down with any students to try and brainstorm ways to make the system better.”