English – ENG3U1
One of the most anticipated classes was English, taught by Mr. Toole. With his sarcastic and humorous way of teaching, English class was always an amazing period filled with laughter, learning and gentle insults. Mr. Toole’s second period English class symbolizes the hero’s journey, which he has acknowledged in his own life and further passed onto the Global class of 2017. As feeble English students with little knowledge, Mr. Toole became our mentor and guided us through the many challenges and successes that his class brought. Through short stories, poetry, ISU novels, Life of Pi, essays, and the many presentations, we transformed into prospering English students, ready to take on any challenge.
Politics of Self
The Politics of Self was our very first assignment. It forced us to reflect on ourselves at a deeper level, and truly understand our core values. We were tasked with choosing five to seven “things” that we value, from meaningful objects to character traits. These were not just simple values but complicated and personal renditions that revealed who we are and who we hope to be.
The next part of this assignment was to present our values to the class in a creative way, which is how it came to be named the Out of The Box presentation. Each student, shaking with nerves, stepped up to expose our insecurities and our prides, our weaknesses and our strengths, making our first real connection as a group.
Brown Man’s Burden
In preparation for C2N, Mr. Toole showed us the effects of colonization. He gave us two perspectives through the Brown Man’s Burden assignment. First, we read a poem called The White Man’s Burden, which is a representation of Western culture forced upon others through colonialism. Understanding that perspective, we had to write poems called “The Brown Man’s Burden.” Using prompts and a similar style to The White Man’s Burden, in one class session we created powerful poems that emphasized the mistreatment of the brown man during colonization.
To prepare us for our English ISUs, Mr. Toole taught us the ropes of writing a well-constructed essay. We took on the challenge of writing our first essay. We were given five topics to choose from and were required to construct a thesis to build our essay around. With the knowledge that structure is king, content is queen, and style decorates the palace, each of us created an essay that showed off our understanding of literature and structure.
To put to the test how our essay writing skills had developed throughout the semester, we wrote a five page essay based on a novel that we chose from the classic Global bookshelf. We based our essay on a quote from Northrop Frye, who Mr. Toole often draws upon in his teaching: “A great work of literature is also a place in which the whole cultural history of the nation that produced it comes into focus.” The ISU provided a challenge for the students and allowed everyone to realize deeper connections through their writing.
To give us a better idea of the variety of poetry types around the world, we were put into groups and chose a form of poetry from a country. We examined the structure and history of the poetic forms and each group member was required to write two poems, using researched guidelines, which were then put into a creatively constructed portfolio. Each poetic form was presented to the class in an engaging manner to give everyone an idea of the many different types of poems.
The final assignment in Mr. Toole’s English class tied together each student's major ISU in an emotionally engaging presentation. Each student stood alone onstage without props, speaking for about three minutes from the perspective of an object. The monologue was where many students stepped off the edge and dove into a new realm of confidence.