So here are some observations on your first stack of AP Poetry essays.
1. You MUST answer ALL PARTS of the prompt!
No matter how good your essays is, if you don't have all the parts answered, you won't get a high score. It asked you to write about allusion, figurative language, and tone. I need to see all three in your essay at some point.
2. No speculative statement such as "Shakespeare probably wrote x,y, and z, to possibly do 1,2, and 3."
No one is a mind reader. You don't know what the author was thinking. You know what he did and how that worked. So say, "Shakespeare used this Bible allusion to clearly illustrate the character's devastation after he has fallen from a higher position," not "Shakespeare probably use an allusion to possibly get the audience to feel sorry for the person who fell from grace." No one knows "why." We only know what and how.
3. Mention the words in the prompt such as allusion, figurative language and tone. Don't "allude" it.
The prompt asked you to write about the terms, so do so. Prompt also asked you to write about the character's "complex" response. So say so! Don't side step them.
4. Do not wait until your conclusion to talk about all the good stuff. Say it in the introduction.
You have been taught for years about how important it is to write a great thesis statement. These essays are no exceptions. You MUST include a strong thesis statement, which means you must include the answer to the prompt in the introduction paragraph. Stop waiting until the end of the essay to answer them.
5. Back up your ideas with actual quotes and "quote" them with the line numbers.
So you think Wolsey's hurt? Where did you see that? He is angry? How did you know that? What did he actually say? Where is that line?
6. Please annotate the prompt.
You don't have this done, you know what will happen to you next time. Enough said.
7. Wirte more!
You cannot expect to get a good score if you barely wrote barely 4 paragraphs. You need to write more. Period.
8. Be specific!
Stop saying, "his feelings." What kind of feelings? Not "a variety of strategies." Say which ones. Don't say "tone." Say "angry tone." Don't say "emotion." Say "his anger," or "his disgust." And don't say, "loaded words." What does that even mean? Use actual words that are in the piece. Please be clear on what you mean.
To the Class of 2014:
I must be honest. 10th grade is not my favorite grade to teach. You people are way too emotional and unpredictable for me. I also hate the pressure of having to be responsible for your future, i.e. the dreaded CAHSEE. So I wasn't too thrilled to be your teacher in the beginning of this year.
However, all of you have made my year so wonderful and fulfilling that I hate to see you go. You are such a funny, loving group of people, and I love you all very much. So much so that I decided to become your class adviser next year.
I hope you remain as sweet and loving. I hope you remain just as emotional yet hopeful. Most of all, I hope to see all of you walk across the stage.
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be your teacher. I loved every minute of it. Good luck on your finals. Even though some of you have not met the academic standards set by the State of California, you all have met and exceeded my personal standards of being wonderful human beings.
You are a great group of kids. Don't ever forget it. Just because you didn't get an A from me doesn't mean that I didn't like you or you didn't deserve my respect. I hope I have been a good teacher to you. I tried. I really did.
So good luck! And remember to come to class meetings. I will miss seeing your smiles.
Love, Mrs. Glazer
P.S. Some of you asked me to not to "yell" so much next year, but that might not be possible. Besides, I wasn't "yelling," not really. I was speaking with passion. Besides, you would be worried if I didn't "yell." Right?
To the Class of 2012
I didn’t know I was meant to be a teacher when I first started teaching. Now there is no doubt in my mind that I was meant to be here doing exactly what I am doing. And partly, it’s because of all of you.
As I look back on our journey together, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my students this year. You made me want to come to work every single day; you made me want to be with you. You also made me want to be a better teacher, a better mother, and most importantly, a better human being. I loved every single second that I spent editing your personal statements, grading your essays, and challenging your answers in class. It has been so much fun!
Because I was always hard on you - and yes, I know I have been hard on you all - you probably didn’t know how much I wanted to take away your disappointment or pain. Or just let you “enjoy” your senior year without any stress. But when I volunteered to be your AP teacher, I knew I had to be a teacher who challenged you and prepared you for your future. I knew that you didn’t come to be in my life so I can simply tell you how amazing you are. By the way, you are amazing. Yes, I have said it. It is true.
But you are also kids, and you still need to learn a lot. We all do. I have tried to help you become curious learners. I tried to model that, and I hope you got that from me.
As I say farewell to you, I want to share one last lesson with you. Remember, sometimes perspective is much more important than the truth. I say that because you are about to experience lots of successes as well as failures. Not the ones that you have experienced so far, but serious, real-life ones. You will have your hearts really broken, you will be told no, and you will be rejected by someone or some place. I am sure of it. So here is my last piece of advice.
Just have faith that things will be what they should be. There really is no way of knowing whether getting exactly what you wanted could have served you better. I didn’t “intend” to end up at IHS. I didn’t know I wanted it. It just happened. I would like to figure out the statistical probability of me, who was born in Korea, becoming your AP English teacher and you, who live in Bakersfield, becoming my students. I am sure one of you brilliant students can help me on that! What are the odds?
The point is, despite my lack of intention, I always thought of my life as a choice. I “chose” to be here. I “chose” to be your teacher. I “chose” to help you in the way that I knew how. And I “chose” to be thrilled at the outcome. It has served me well.
So when you feel down because things are not going “your” way, please remember to keep things in perspective. Things are always as good as you think of them and as bad as you think of them depending on your perspective. If you keep your perspective happy and positive, you can also “choose” to be happy. It’s just that simple.
It has been an honor and privilege to be your teacher. Your class will always have a special place in my heart. I worked very hard to be the best teacher I knew how to be. If I have disappointed you in any way, please know that it has not been my intention. I love you very much, and thank you for helping me love my life that I chose: a teacher’s life. I will miss seeing you every day. Please keep in touch.
This year has been a great year since I attended a conference conducted by Dr. Judy Willis last summer. Since then, she has been such a great mentor and teacher for me. She has helped me come up with various lessons and activities. She has also done so much for me in terms of listening to my ideas and providing feedback for me. So naturally, I emailed her the link to my poetry lesson, and she posted it on her blog at ASCD Edge! I am so surprised and delighted! So very exciting! :)
To teach my 10th grade college prep students how an author uses ambiguity and confusion to enhance the meaning of the work as a whole, I tried the following lesson. And it worked!
I had all my students read the description of the island in Lord of the Flies Chapter 1. My students were put into groups of 6, and they were asked to create a map of the island as a group. As I expected, every map looked so very different from one another even though they read exactly the same passage.
So I asked my students why that was. I asked, "If you know that the author is totally capable of creating the most accurate descriptions of the island, why didn't he do it?" After nearly 10 minutes of questioning, one of my students finally answered, "Is it because he wants us to be confused just like the boys on the island?" So I pressed it a bit more, "That's interesting. So let's say that is the case, why do you think the author wants us to be confused? Doesn't he want us to get exactly what he is saying?" Finally, one student said, "Unless confusion is what he is trying to communicate." So I kept asking, "Why would an author want to convey confusion to the readers?" Eventually, one of my students said, "Because he wants to tell us that we live in a confusing society when we don't have rules." Oh, the sound of learning in my classroom! How sweet it is!
I couldn't have been happier with how this lesson turned out. I think they are beginning to get that literary devices are used to convey a bigger meaning of the work. I am so very proud of all of my students who worked so hard to get this lesson!
My students - Jake Bedell, Mathew Ramirez, and Joseph Caquias (from left to right)-wanted me to come and watch them compete. So I took my boys - Gabriel and Spencer - to see them. They worked hard, and they were really good. I am so very proud of these young men. Above all else, they are such great kids.
My amazing seniors reciting poetry on an outdoor stage! Thanks Mrs. Ayers for bringing her class to listen to them. It was AWESOME to have them listen to my students recite poems. So much fun!
My last week has shown its staying power. This week began with another amazing incident. Two weeks prior to the CAHSEE testing, my 10th graders and I read Night by Elie Wiesel. Since I had to teach a business letter unit, I decided to have my all of my 10th graders to write a business letter to Dr. Elie Wiesel. I had them "fix" any errors they made in terms of their formatting and taught them how to address the envelope. For some, it was a slowly painful process of writing and rewriting over and over again. I finally sent over 140 letters in a box.
And yesterday in my mail box at school, this letter appeared! A letter by Elie Wiesel himself! Imagine my delight! So I made copies for every single one of my 10th graders. They were so excited to get the letter.
This week has been so very exciting. All week long, my students and I enjoyed our "15 minutes of fame" for being on both channel 23 and channel 17.
Then I just found out that 4 of my seniors were accepted to UCLA. Seeing what people say about who got into UCLA for this year, I am BEYOND excited for them!!!!!
Needless to say, I feel so fortunate to have these seniors who are so caring and loving beyond description! And my wonderful 10th graders. It is true that some of them are not as mature as my seniors yet, but they are simply the sweetest group of students I have ever had the pleasure of teaching. This has been one of the best years of my teaching career because everything seems to just flow together. I couldn't ask for a better school, better colleagues, and most importantly, a better group of students. But then again, I felt that way about my students at Arvin. I suppose it's because I was meant to be teacher. It sure beats selling shoes for now! :)
Today was such an exciting day! My students were interviewed by two separate TV stations. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? So here we go! Curtis Valencia with channel 23 / Kaelyn DeLeon and Ethan Cantrell with channel 17. They were discussing how they came to create music videos that received over a thousand hits. Amazing students I have. I am so very proud of them! :)
I am a mother, wife, and English teacher. I moved from Korean when I was 23 without speaking English. Now I teach English. I want to be an Educational-Neuroscientist when I grow up!