We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I had an 8th grade English teacher who made Shakespeare enjoyable. We spent the entire year studying, reading and even acting Shakespeare. We even built a small cardboard model of the Globe Theater for inspiration. I can tell you as a 14 year old boy I was not a fan of Shakespeare but after awhile thanks to a great teacher I could at least appreciate him and his works. She also introduced us to Chaucer but the middle English is a hard read.
I have often wondered if this teacher strayed from her curriculum or not. I doubt that today you could devote and entire year of class to Shakespeare.
No. But you made me remember that our 9th grade English teacher choose to read/teach Greek mythology that year. As I remember we actually ran out of Greek mythology and moved on to other literature. What happened was... complicated.
In the ninth grade back in 1957 the school I attended had about a dozen or so really tough guys all over 18. But the law in the state was that a "child" could attend school until reaching age 21 or graduation. So the school was stuck with 18, 19 and 20 year old students going into the 9th grade. So they made a special "group" (we had three groups; college track, business track and general). The new group of about 16 students as I remember was called "trade track". We had a trade high school but high school started in the 10th grade. I was into cars, wood shop, metal shop and drafting and that is what we did all day. I loved it. The counselor tried to talk me out of it but I did it anyway. The fear was what these tough adult delinquents would beat up us 14 year old's. But it was actually just fine. Gym class was a little rough but manageable. My greatest memory was casting pistons in metal shop and actually machining them and using them in an engine rebuild. Cool!
That was said by Louis Rossman, a guy who does Youtube videos on computer/smart phone repair and occasionally comments on things from his perspective as a successful businessperson, who dropped out of college and survived K-12.
It comes from a video where he is specifically addresses why kids, and adults, don't read. Because they are trained to hate reading by school.
School teaches that if you read, you will be required to answer a bunch of ignorant questions on insignificant details. School specifically disincentivizes reading to reflect, to weigh and consider, to think. Do any of that and you'll get behind the class and not have the gameshow answers for the test or teacher.
I can recall in sophomore English having to memorize and put to paper on a test, all of Marc Antony's funeral oration from The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. Y'know, "Friends, Romans, countrymen blahblahblah". Our teacher even expected exact punctuation. On top of A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Merchant of Venice in freshman English, and later, Hamlet senior year, I rather disliked Shakespeare. Those English teachers truly extracted from me "a pound of flesh." Heh. I found the plots to be incredibly involved and difficult to follow (just look at the plot summary of Hamlet in Wikipedia!!) As the man says, " . . . it's not written to be read except by actors". Regarding other literature studies, my junior English teacher had a sense of humor: anyone who read (i.e., survived) Moby Dick automatically got an "A". I took her up on it but wished I'd read the Classics comic book instead. And the best of Chaucer we didn't even study; it was The Miller's Tale. At least that was entertaining. I wish we'd studied Thucydides instead, in spite of his stilted writing style. I did a lot better in "grammar" than in "literature" but it sure seemed to me the teachers preferred "literature".
There was literature I found hard going in high school, either because I wasn't mature enough or just because I lacked the cultural context to understand what the author was up to. We read "Rasselas" in 9th grade, for instance, and I could make nothing whatever of it. By the time I was a freshman in college, Shakespeare and Faulkner were wonderful. There's a lot to be said for age-appropriate literature: it doesn't have to be dumb, just accessible for someone who still lacks a lot of life experience. If it's got too many inside jokes, it will fall flat. Something adventurous probably is a good idea.