Course Syllabus

English 41/42- 2022-2023

Ms. Khan

Back to School Night Video


world-lit_48801079 (1)-1.pngRoom 228


Website: on Canvas

We tweet: @MsKhanEnglish

Office Hours: By appointment

“[Stories] are all bound up with this wonderful talent we humans have: to empathize with others. If, by reading these [stories], we are enabled to step, for one moment, into another person’s shoes, to get right under their skin, then that is already a great achievement. Through empathy we overcome prejudice, develop tolerance and ultimately understand love. Stories can bring understand, healing, reconciliation and unity.”

-- Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Welcome to World Literature! As you may have gathered, this course examines just a few masterpieces of literature around the world, at times, in translation. In here, you will explore, learn, and love literature. Through our course of study, you will gain awareness of how the author treats her characters, how her reveals the beliefs and ideals of her time and country, how her writing uniquely reflects his country, and how her writing embraces universal concepts will help you gain much from these stories. Look closely at each author through a microscope. Discover how each author speaks to mankind universally. But most of all, know that we may be miles apart, but the human experience is universal. Delight in the experiences these stories provide!

I expect to treat you as adults, to converse with you and to learn from you. I hope that will be true for all of us. Secondly, I’d like to remind you that this course will require a lot of time and effort from you. There will be a lot of reading, writing, and discussion.  I hope you will feel you have grown and stretched yourself over the course of the year, becoming a better writer, speaker and thinker by the end of it. Please remember that I am here to support you in every step of the way.

Norms of the course:

  • Share the air time
  • Ground events in personal experience, using “I” statements
  • Say “ouch”
  • Be willing to try stuff on
  • Respect confidentiality, no attributions
  • Use “and” instead of “but”
  • Be aware of Impact vs. Intent
  • 24-hour rule
  • Use “could” instead of “should”

Core Texts:

Purple Hibiscus, Chimamanda Ngozi

Midaq Alley, Naguib Mahfouz

Waiting, Ha Jin

The God of Small Things, OR The Ministry of Utmost Happiness,  Arundhati Roy  

Night Spirits, Ila Bussidor

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, Daniyal Mueenuddin

Various Short Stories

Course Assignments:

  • Papers/Essays/Quizzes
  • Visual Presentations
  • Reflection Journal
  • Discussion and participation
  • Senior paper and speech

Classroom Expectations

Each day, I expect you to embody these values laid out by the Wellesley Public Schools:

-       Academic Excellence

-       Commitment to Community

-       Respect for Human Differences

-       Cooperative and Caring Relationships

As a responsible member of this class, I expect you will

  1.     Attend class regularly. If you know you will be absent, please let me know beforehand. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to check with a classmate regarding missed work, and then acquire the handouts you have missed. You are responsible for all work missed.
  2.     Arrive on time. Please come to class on time. Three tardy arrivals will earn a cut. If you are more than 10 minutes late for any given class, you will receive a cut. Be ready to begin when the bell rings. Any work due should be ready (stapled, etc.) to turn in at the bell.
  3.     Be prepared. You are expected to come to class having completed assigned reading. You will be assigned about 50 pgs. of reading some nights, sometimes in difficult literature.  You must be able to keep up this pace, comprehend what you read, and be able to discuss. If you have difficulty with retaining what you read, learn to take notes on the reading. If you are unprepared, there will be negative academic consequences. There will be regular reading quizzes as well as vocabulary quizzes.
  4.     Be mature. I will assume you can handle mature and controversial topics. I hope to challenge you to think about some of your beliefs and assumptions. If you are bothered by what we discuss in class, tell me. If anything I do bothers you, I hope you will also tell me. Please talk to me directly.  I will try to do the same.  For example, one of the things that bother me most is people who talk while other people are talking.  Please be attentive to this issue.
  5.     Limit usage of bathroom and cellphone. Limit your visits to the bathroom and keep them short and infrequent. You are adults and I shouldn't have to reprimand you on taking breaks often. If this is a consistent problem, there will be negative consequences. As a general rule, cell phones should be turned off and stowed away in your backpack during class. Occasionally, we will use them during certain class activities, but unless explicitly stated, cell phones MUST be turned off. If seen, there will be consequences.

Major Assignments:There will be 3 – 4 major assignments per quarter.  These assignments will consist of formal critical analyses, exams, projects, and presentations.  There will be a strong emphasis on your analytical writing. The length of essays and their worth towards your final grade will vary accordingly.  There will also be a major book report, which will require you to read a novel on your own, research the criticism on it, and write a paper. You will also give a speech and write a paper on your own cultural journey into adulthood. More on this later. Please follow the Writing Lab Handbook for formatting guides.  I also encourage you to make use of the Writing Lab in the WHS Library. If you wish to schedule a writing conference with me, you must do so in advance. I am willing to meet with you before or after school, however, keep in mind that this is a writing conference and you will therefore be expected to sit and discuss your essay as I go through it, not drop it off.

Late Assignments & Make-up work: In accordance with the WHS English Department, 100 point papers or projects will have a late penalty of 10 points assessed on the first late day and 5 points for every subsequent day. Weekends and drop days count as late time. I will not accept any assignment after one week. You have ONE one-day late option per year; please use it wisely.  If you choose to use your late day, you need to inform me 48 hours in advance, unless you have a medical emergency. For any assignment other than an essay, I accept no late work.  If you are on campus but absent from class (i.e. field trip, doctor’s appointment, meeting, etc.) you are still responsible to turn in work on the same day. It is your responsibility to find out what you missed while you were away, and connect with me to schedule the make-up work.

Integrity: Cheating shows a lack of respect for self and for others. Taking shortcuts—such as SparkNotes or asking a friend for a synopsis of reading—is cheating. Plagiarism is cheating. If you are unprepared for a quiz, or if you cannot meet the deadline for an assignments, accept your responsibility by being honest and accepting the consequences. Please see the “Academic Integrity” section of the Student Handbook, starting on page 70 for more information.



Essays and Projects- 40%

Tests and Quizzes – 30%

Homework- 15%

Class Participation – 15%


Please sign and tear off this sheet to turn in to Ms. Khan so I know you have read and understood these policies and expectations.

September 1, 2021

English 41/42: World Literature


Dear Parent/Guardian,


I am writing to inform you that in your child’s English Language Arts class this year, we will be reading and discussing a few texts that contain vivid descriptions of sexual assault. Given the sensitive nature of this material, I felt it was important to communicate with you regarding these texts early in the academic year. Our goal as their senior year English teachers in presenting this literature is not to force this exposure on students or present the subject in a positive light, but rather to challenge them to analyze and think critically about these difficult topics in a mature fashion.


This course gives the students a unique opportunity to survey masterpieces in literature from around the world. We designed this class partially in response to student demand for literature that addresses contemporary, ‘real world’ issues. Since sexual assault is a pressing issue of our time that plagues communities across the world, many authors choose to include such topics to raise awareness of them through literature. We hope that the conversations that stem from these texts will better enable our students to understand and engage with this prevalent issue. The content of these texts will in no way degrade the standards set by the school nor the district. Whatever is presented will be done tastefully and thoughtfully, with opportunities for students to engage at their level of comfort and for you to communicate with us regarding their (and your own) responses to the literature.


I thank you for your time and willingness to engage in your child’s education. Please reach out to me via email if you have any further concerns or questions. I look forward to meeting you at the Open House.



Ms. Shima Khan

Wellesley High School

English Department



▢ Yes, I give my child permission to read and discuss the books mentioned above in the classrooms


▢ No, I do not give my child permission to read the books chosen for this course; I will reach out via email.


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Name of parent/guardian      Signature