Oakland, CA — My freshman year English class spent months covering Romeo and Juliet. But, despite the ridiculous amount of time we spent on it, I left that class feeling like I had learned nothing.
Shakespeare isn’t fit to be the backbone of English classes. Just because Shakespeare’s work is held in high regard, doesn't mean it should be sacred to our classrooms and drown out writing from more current and diverse authors.
Students need to be exposed to more than a white man’s centuries-old perspective. We deserve to see ourselves reflected in what we're learning.
I’m not saying Shakespeare should be completely eliminated from the curriculum. Students should learn of his work and his influence on language and literature. But, the amount of time spent teaching his plays should be shifted towards stories that more accurately portray the lives of the students reading them.
If my freshman year English class had been geared towards writing that introduced me to diverse voices and perspectives, I would’ve left class with valuable information which I could use to inform the rest of my life.
Phoebe Lefebvre (she/her), is a high school student at Oakland School of the Arts focusing on creative nonfiction writing.
Edited by Amber Ly.