English Department

The English department engages students in the work of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It is important for all of our graduates to be well-versed in a variety of means of communication, to be critical consumers of information, and to be empathetic and thoughtful citizens. From fundamental studies of the mechanics of language to complex multimodal presentations, our recursive curriculum leads students to mastery of English language, appreciation for well-crafted literature, a propensity for thinking deeply and critically, a desire to engage empathetically and civilly with others, and the ability to communicate well-thought-out, evidence-based arguments. 

Transfer Goals; Students will:
  • Develop a mindset of inquiry and curiosity to become informed, empathetic citizens who are skilled in their field and advocate and take action on behalf of others.
  • Engage with text in a variety of forms, voices, and genres to understand others’ perspectives and effectively participate in informed civil discourse.
  • Gather and evaluate credible sources and apply critical thinking skills to effectively construct a clear and focused evidence-based argument.
  • Express ideas in a variety of forms that employ a logical, organized structure and aesthetic sensibility.
The Write House – Student-Led Upper School Writing Center
TMI Episcopal hosts a writing center that is staffed by juniors and seniors who are selected by their English teacher based upon their writing skill, their desire to help others, and their ability to mentor other students. The students are trained at the beginning of the school year and the writing tutors are available in person or electronically to assist upper school students with all aspects of their writing, in all courses.

Senior Chapel Talk
Every senior at TMI Episcopal delivers a 7-9 minute speech in chapel during the school year. This speech is written over the summer before the senior year and then revised during the first few weeks in the senior English class. The topics for these speeches range from anxiety to zip-lining–all focusing on aspects of student leadership with a message that is important to the student and relevant to the entire student body, faculty, and staff.

English

  • American Southern Gothic Literature

    Take a walk through the American Southern Gothic literary tradition exploring themes of decay, madness, and despair set against the crumbling plantations of the antebellum era. Ghost hunters and scary story lovers - this course is for you. We will explore social, gender, and race issues (along with some vampires) with Harper Lee, William Faulkner, and Flannery O’Connor. This English elective is open to grades 9 - 12.
  • AP English Language and Composition

    (requires teacher approval; open to approved 11-12 grade students for either the English 3 or 4 credit)
    This course is taken by juniors and seniors in lieu of English III or English IV, and it requires departmental approval. Aligned to an introductory college level rhetoric and writing curriculum, the AP Language and Composition course cultivates the reading and writing skills that students need for college success and intellectually responsible civic engagement. The course guides students in becoming curious, critical, and responsive readers of primarily non-fiction diverse texts, and becoming flexible, reflective writers of texts addressed to diverse audiences for diverse purposes.  The reading and writing students do in the course deepen and expand their understanding of how written language functions rhetorically.  The course culminates in the nationally administered AP Exam in May. Students who perform well on this exam may receive college credit and/or placement into advanced courses in college. Students in the AP section should be passionate readers and writers who have a strong foundational grammar and vocabulary base. 
  • AP English Literature and Composition

    (requires teacher approval; open to approved 11-12 grade student for either the English 3 or 4 credit)
    Taken in lieu of English III or English IV by juniors and seniors who have demonstrated the ability and commitment to study literature at the college level, the curriculum and standards of this course reflect recommendations of the College Board. The course focuses on deep analysis of select works of (mostly) British literature from the 16th to the 21st century. Along with the class work, students will each complete an independent project with a deep look at literature through a lens of the student’s choice. The course culminates in the nationally-administered AP Exam in May. Students who perform well on this exam may receive college credit and/or placement into advanced courses in college. Students in the AP section should be passionate readers and writers who have a strong foundational grammar and vocabulary base.  Placement is based on departmental approval.
  • Contemporary Fiction and Film - Fall

     
    (fall semester course, English elective open to 11th and 12th graders)
    This is a reading and discussion intensive class. Students are expected to do quite a bit of outside reading and expected to participate robustly in classroom discussion. Grading will consist of three or four major essays per semester. Texts may include works by renowned contemporary writers such as Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Cormac McCarthy. Films are shown to augment the readings.
  • Contemporary Fiction and Film - Full Year

    (full year course, English elective open to 11th and 12th graders)
    This is a reading and discussion intensive class. Students are expected to do quite a bit of outside reading and expected to participate robustly in classroom discussion. Grading will consist of three or four major essays per semester. Texts may include works by renowned contemporary writers such as Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Cormac McCarthy. Films are shown to augment the readings.
  • Contemporary Fiction and Film - Spring

    (spring semester course, English elective open to 11th and 12th graders)
    This is a reading and discussion intensive class. Students are expected to do quite a bit of outside reading and expected to participate robustly in classroom discussion. Grading will consist of three or four major essays per semester. Texts may include works by renowned contemporary writers such as Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Cormac McCarthy. Films are shown to augment the readings.
  • Creative Writing - Fall

    In this class students will examine and practice a variety of forms of creative writing, including but not limited to short fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction (memoir and essay). Using exemplary literary models, students will discuss elements including: characterization, point-of-view, plot, tone, narrative, dialogue, voice, setting, mood, figurative language, rhythm and theme. Students will exploit those literary models in the service of their own writing, engaging in all aspects of the writing process from brainstorming and composition to work-shopping and revision. Students will work to become better writers by working and reworking their own pieces, evaluating the writing of their peers, collaborating with classmates in co-authored pieces, and discussing the writing process and technique with visiting published authors. All students will maintain portfolios that should include drafts as well as finished pieces. Polished pieces of writing will be submitted to local and national writing contests, including TMI’s literary magazine, The Muse. This class is open to Upper School students in grades 9-12 and is a one semester class taught in the fall.
  • Creative Writing and Publishing-Spring

    In this class, students will participate in the production of the school’s literary magazine, The Muse. Students will learn how to be editors—how to solicit, select, and edit pieces for publication. They will learn how to use software such as InDesign and Photoshop to design print publications. They will also play a role in the printing, marketing, and distribution of the magazine, thereby participating in all stages of production. In the process of learning how to run a literary magazine, students will complete related projects to practice their editorial, creative writing, and graphic design skills. Students will also learn about literary magazines published at the professional level. This class is a one semester class taught in the spring. It is open to Upper School students (9-12).
  • English I

    This required ninth grade course focuses on a genre approach to literature in which students read and interpret literary forms through discussion and writing. Students learn and practice multi-paragraph essay writing techniques. Emphasis is placed on modes of discourse, research, documentation, correct use of oral and written language, the basics of literary analysis, and attention to substance, organization, and correctness in student writing.
  • English I Honors

    This required ninth grade course focuses on a genre approach to literature in which students read and interpret literary forms through discussion and writing. Students learn and practice multi-paragraph essay writing techniques. Emphasis is placed on modes of discourse, research, documentation, correct use of oral and written language, the basics of literary analysis, and attention to substance, organization, and correctness in student writing. Additionally, students in the Honors section should be passionate readers and writers who have a strong foundational grammar and vocabulary base. Placement is based on departmental approval.
  • English II

    English II presents a variety of stories from around the world which encourage students to question their preconceptions about race, class and gender, along with empires and colonies, war and peace, culture, nationality and religion.  Immersion into stories of unfamiliar people and cultures elicits empathy and understanding for others as well as identification with those whose struggles and triumphs are common to the human condition. With its focus on world literature, this required tenth grade course builds an understanding of the many dimensions of human experience and guides students in a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate and appreciate a variety of texts and genres.  At the same time, students learn to employ a diverse range of modes (in addition to formal writing) to most effectively communicate their ideas to diverse audiences.
  • English II Honors

    English II Honors
    In addition to the work done in the English II CP course, Honors English II introduces students to rhetorical analysis and places special emphasis on the writing and revision process. Some of the texts differ from the English II CP course and require more sophisticated analysis.  Students in the Honors section should be passionate readers and writers who have a strong foundational grammar and vocabulary base. Placement is based on departmental approval.
     
  • English III

    This required eleventh grade course is primarily focused on non-fiction texts and is designed to instill students with the reading, writing, and problem solving skills they will need in college and beyond. Students are also encouraged to adopt the habits of successful college students: goal-setting, reflection, and self-evaluation. The course aims in particular to equip students to write for a wide variety of purposes, audiences, and genres. Students study the arts of rhetoric, argumentation, and synthesis, which will benefit them on college entrance exams as well as in college writing itself.
  • English IV

    English IV focuses on the origins and development of the English language and literature, stressing how the texts both reflect and produce the cultural values that continue to influence our views of race, class and gender.  This required twelfth grade course builds an understanding of the many dimensions of human experience and guides students in a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, appreciate and critique a variety of texts and genres.  At the same time, students learn to employ a variety of modes (in addition to formal writing) to most effectively communicate their ideas to diverse audiences.
     
     
  • English Mastery 1

    The required sixth grade English Mastery 1 course uses a workshop model of reading and writing instruction with units on personal narrative, character study, historical fiction, nonfiction reading, and the literary essay. Students learn and practice the stages of the writing process from generating ideas to revising. They learn grammar and conventions and practice them in the context of their written work. Students read both shared and student-selected texts in a variety of genres. Lessons, discussions, and collaborative activities help students develop their comprehension and analytical skills as readers, thinkers, and writers.
  • English Mastery 2

    The required seventh grade English Mastery 2 course emphasizes building vocabulary and grammar understanding, incorporating both into a variety of writing strategies and purposes including short works of fiction, research reports, literary analyses, and debate. Students will read and discuss works of realistic, historical, and science fiction, as well as Shakespeare, poetry, and Greek mythology. Vocabulary instruction will emphasize connotation, figurative vs. literal meaning, using context, and Greek and Latin roots. Students will become increasingly independent in using a variety of creative techniques including discussion, essays, presentations, and multi-media projects to showcase their understanding of literary elements.
  • English Mastery 3

    This course reinforces all Mastery Level 2 competencies by applying knowledge of sentence grammar and grammatical structures to a variety of writing tasks, including other modes of discourse (besides expository, descriptive, and persuasive). Mastery 3 discussions and assignments help students work to mastery with images, themes, structure, elements of plot, conflict, point of view, characterization, and style. Students use their reading skills to lead and participate in literary discussions facilitated by the teacher; these discussions help students uncover a deeper and more personal understanding of the texts. A Mastery 3 student reads with purpose, looking for various plot elements, characterization, and themes. Students respond in writing multiple times throughout the year, and assignments emphasize literary analysis with the use of quotations from the text, creativity, organization and support of ideas, clarity of style, use of accurate and appropriate vocabulary, and the importance of proofreading and editing.
  • The Harlem Renaissance

    Enter the light and joy of the Harlem Renaissance. We will celebrate the revival of African American literature, poetry, art, drama, and music of New York in the 20s and 30s, with works by Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and more. We will explore how this movement continues into the present day. This English elective is open to grades 9-12.

Departments

Department Faculty

MISSION: TMI provides an exceptional education with values based on the teachings of Jesus Christ that challenge motivated students to develop their full potential in service and leadership.

NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATORY POLICY AS TO STUDENTS
TMI Episcopal admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, sex, religion, and physical ability to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. The school does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, sex, religion, and physical ability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and financial aid programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.
TMI Episcopal
20955 W. Tejas Trail
San Antonio TX 78257
phone (210) 698-7171
fax (210) 698-0715