A Year of Barretting and Tang

by Ahmed Elmahytang

When I was a sophomore, I was faced with the difficult task of picking classes for the following year. I was torn between taking both AP English and AP United States history, or only one of them. I decided to take both as I wanted to challenge myself– and that was a near fatal mistake.

When picking classes, I tend to think of a class in a certain way, expect it to function in that image, yet when I actually go to the actual class, I find out that it is far different from what I expected. That is exactly how it was for both AP United States History and AP Language & Composition. The thing that surprised me wasn’t the class itself, but rather the teacher, Ms. Barrett (English) and Ms. Tang (APUSH), and their workload. I was stuck spending at least 3 hours a night on average just for those two classes (minus if there is a large assignment like an outline is due).

If you want to sacrifice having free-time, having a life, sleep, weekends, procrastination, and many other aspects of a non-school related social life, then I would recommend the combination of those two classes. At this point, you are probably thinking, well he is just telling us that those two classes suck, but that isn’t what I’m trying to say. I am saying that those two classes are demanding by themselves, and together they need great dedication and sacrifices in order to succeed in them. Time management, self-control (there is no room for procrastination), efficiency, and the ability to live off of little sleep is some of the traits necessary to survive and thrive in the classes. Lack those traits, and you will find yourself in night-school regretting that you ever took those classes.

However, on the upside, the benefits and knowledge that I got from both of these classes were worth the sacrifice of sleep in the long run. From Ms. Barrett, I learned how to use rhetorical devices, how to construct sentences and paragraphs in alluring ways, and other techniques to make my writing flow with ease. From Ms. Tang, I learned how to better manage my time to avoid staying up, finish 5-6 hour outlines that my teacher didn’t even grade on time, and how to write concise and informative essays in short amounts of time.

Barrett and Tang are both great teachers who spend a majority of their day helping students. They do that for a reason, for even if you have the traits I stated above, you will struggle, that is a guarantee. Yet, we learn from our mistakes, and our struggles, if you dedicate your time and effort toward the class, and take advantage of the afterschool workshops or tutoring that the classes offer or even talk to Barrett and Tang, you are guaranteed to learn skills that will remain with you for the rest of your life. Barrett and Tang, the two teachers that I will never forget, both for their demand for excellence and willingness to teach those who step up to the challenges of their classes.

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