Finishing up High School, I can look back on my career and definitively say, AP English Language and Composition was the most beneficial class I have taken in my high school career. Taught by Ms. Barrett, who retired last year, the class was very rigorous and demanding, but that is, in part, what added to the experience. What most people define as learning from a class is completely acquiring the material taught, however, in Ms. Barrett’s class, I learned so much more.
Signing up for AP English Language and Composition is basically asking to get hours of homework every single night for a whole year. What is different about Ms. Barrett’s homework though, is that I felt it had purpose. Her prompts were directed at stimulating thinking and self evaluation. They weren’t simple questions with one answer, instead, the answer was what you made it to be, as long as you provided sufficient evidence for your conclusion.
Because of this, I felt required to think for my answer, rather than look through a book to simply copy a quote. Ms. Barrett didn’t want me to be the best writer ever, but the best writer I could be.
Sometimes she would make you answer questions to a prompt thoroughly, or she would require you to write a valid thesis, which is easier said than done. To write a thesis for Barrett, I would have to go through multiple revisions in order to satisfy her requirements. All her homework always required a lot of time. I recall spending hours every night completing her assignments.
All her homework was looked over and talked about in class. These discussions would take up the majority of class time and were a very important part of her class. Because participation was for a grade, we were all motivated to speak, which in turn made me more comfortable expressing my ideas verbally.
What made me sign up for this class, I can honestly say, I don’t know. It may have been that I wanted to challenge myself, that my friends were taking it, or even because it looked good on college applications, regardless, I am glad that I did.
This continuous load of work left me better off, it prepared me for the AP Exam (which I thankfully passed with), and helped me become a critical thinker. It was everything a class should be in my opinion.
All in all, finishing up High School, I can say I learned a lot from all my classes, but especially AP English Language and Composition. I got college credits and gained a whole lot of knowledge along the way.