I feel that your class has prepared me for what is to come at college. The work load was, most of the time, a lot more than we were used from past years and more intense and demanding as well. So while, at time we felt like we would surely die under the load, it is close to the amount of work we will be expected to do next year. So it’s good for us to get used to it now. Also the type of work we were expected to do is similar to that of next year. Explications threw everyone through a loop when we first started doing them, and for me, most of the year, but it is a skill that now, as a result of much practice in your class, we have mastered and is one that we will carry with us through out college. Another example is the fifteen page research papers we just finished. It was an enormous feat for all of us to accomplish but, again, is something we will be expected to know how to do in college.
Through out the year in your class I gradually learned to have confidence in myself as an English student. When I first entered your class I was struggling, big time. I was no longer at the top of my class and I didn’t know what to do with that. I was struggling, really struggling, in an English class that never happened to me. Well, I mean there were time in other English classes, when I was younger and less intelligent, I would do poorly in an English class on purpose to “stick it” to the teacher. But that wasn’t he case in your class; I was genuinely working hard and was still floundering.
Then one day you handed me back one of my explication papers, which I got an eighty-two on, a B! I was absolutely shocked! When I looked up at you in total amazement and disbelief, you said something like, “Yeah, and you completely earned it, I’m a hard grader.” That was definitely one of the happiest and best moments in your class. I had finally conquered the one thing that was truly giving me a hard time in your class. I was so proud of myself, which doesn’t happen very often.
One of the biggest, and most important, units that we covered in your class was A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man by James Joyce. This was an extremely mature and difficult read, I was thrilled I lived through it, let alone understood it. The thing I enjoyed most about covering this book was the discussions and lectures we had over it. There is so much going on in that book and so many symbols, I really loved having you and my classmates there to point out things I wouldn’t have caught otherwise. It taught me to read into things more.
Portrait was also our first experience with strands. I was always pretty good at coming up with theories to write about based on what I read, but through learning about strands I got to hone that skill further. Strands force you to lock into one aspect of what you’re reading so that your writing and your evidence will be more specific. Also they get you to notice patterns, and themes, and hints within the author’s writing and that really helps you understand what the author is trying to say. All of these things are vital to creating a good thesis and paper.
Our next biggest unit, and my favorite, was Hamlet. Obviously it is important for every English student and every student in general, to learn Shakespeare. Going into my senior year in high school, into English twelve honors, I was so excited to be reading Hamlet. I knew this was the year we would read it and I just could not wait. As someone who loves English, and being an actor, it doesn’t get better than Hamlet for me.
Hamlet was so much fun. Getting to watch you act as Hamlet and all of us getting to take turns acting it out seriously made my year. It was literally combining my two favorite things. Also the question constantly asked through out studying Hamlet was “How would you cast the characters of Hamlet if you were a director of the play?” This got our imaginations going and made reading Hamlet and considering the possibilities a lot of fun. Also we had some of the best discussions over this book. Discussions have always been one of my favorite parts of any English class. But the ones we had in your class, over this play were particularly intense, entertaining, enlightening, and excellent.
Hamlet was also my favorite unit because most of the work was more independent and up to us. We had a certain amount of journals to do and certain parts of the play to write them on, but what we wrote was up to us. I am much better at this more relaxed style of writing. Also it allowed us to consider all the different interpretations that can be found in Hamlet. It let us choose the way we wanted to view the characters and the story. Hamlet was also our second experience with strands. I chose Ophelia as my character to pay attention to and the Ghost as my strand. To be honest, I paid much more attention to Ophelia than anything else in the play, because she was the most interesting aspect if the play, in my opinion. This method really let me zero in on Ophelia and her connection to Hamlet, and allowed me to form my own opinion and theory of her.
Thank you for a wonderful senior year that I thoroughly enjoyed, and one that I feel really prepared me for what is to come. Thank you so much.