"Don't just consider what the author thinks, consider what YOU think!" (Dead Poet's Society)
Dear 2014-2015 AP Literature students:
Since this is my last year teaching AP Literature (in case you haven't heard I am retiring in June and school will be out forever for me!), I thought I would spend a few minutes and tell you what being your teacher has meant to me.
When you all walked in that first day, you looked so scared and young. I think I may have intimidated some of you because for a few weeks (or even months) I never heard your voices. Once we started discussing in groups and I was walking around and listening to what you were saying, I was impressed by the depth of thought that many of you brought forth about the novels and poems. For some of you it took a long time to feel comfortable in the group, and believe me that is something that you will have to get used to very quickly in college. This class was good practice for that!
I have watched this year as you all have matured into critical thinkers and writers. I hope that the time we spent together has been valuable to you. It certainly has been valuable to me! In not only hearing your voices on different topics, but in reading how you coherently put together a valid analysis, I must say that I am impressed. All of you have improved your academic skills in one way or another. I have loved every minute of getting to know you as students and as young men and women. I am proud of all of you! You will never know how much it means to me that you were my last class.
This was a hard year for me. My mother passed away in December and my beloved golden retriever, Reilly, died this spring at the age of 13. Many of you expressed comforting words and helped me through these difficult times. Your thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated!
So it is with both sadness and joy that I commission you all to go forth and read and write! Take everything you have learned from class and each other and believe in yourselves as accomplished writers. Always do your best in whatever you write and remember the power of words. As Patrick Rothfuss states, “Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.” (The Name of the Wind)
I will miss all of you but I know that you will have successful college experiences, careers and lives. One of my favorite poets, Walt Whitman, eloquently writes, "that the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse." Make your verse meaningful!
I have loved being a part of your lives!