An Ode to the English Department

Being stuck in quarantine has led me to reflect on my earlier days of being in high school, and as Teacher’s Appreciation Week kicks off the month of May, I’ve been thinking about some of my favorite teachers. Without these teachers to look up to, my high school years would be much more dismal and depressing, and I have them to thank for most of my article inspirations today. Thus, this article is an ‘ode’ to those teachers that lifted my spirits both inside and outside the classroom. Woman Wearing Brown Shirt Carrying Black Leather Bag on Front of Library BooksTo my ninth grade English teacher: thank you for transforming my love for reading into fun projects in our class. In your class, I felt like I could have intellectual debates with my peers on the true message of 1984, or discuss the importance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but most importantly, I felt like I had a true mentor who shared my love for literature and nurtured it. Your class was one of my favorites despite being my last class of each day, and I looked forward to whichever book we were reading and the projects that accompanied it.  From being in reading groups to interpret the texts or being in front of the class, acting out scenes from Romeo and Juliet, your class made me feel welcomed to be myself, and I will always look back to my freshman year with Room 14 in mind.  

To my 12th grade Foods teacher: though I was in your class my final year, I feel like I gained the most wisdom from the everyday lessons of creating different dishes. Your class never felt like we were just making recipes; rather, every project we created felt like it had a unique experience tied to it. Similar to my ninth grade English class, I got to create dishes in my own unique way, and I loved doing all of the side projects after cooking; cleaning dishes was never more fun than having people play music on their speakers across the kitchens. I learned a lot of physical lessons, such as how to make egg muffins and spring rolls, as well as mental lessons, such as gentle reminders to take a break every now and then and that life is not just about getting the perfect grades. I remember I teared up on the final day of school, thinking about how much I would miss you and the wonderful memories at Buena. Thank you, for teaching me the art of food. 

The Lalastack Of Old Books And Glasses

Now, I could not finish my ode without my eleventh and twelfth grade English teacher, who taught me so much over the span of being in her class twice.  To my AP Lang and Literature teacher: thank you for teaching me how to properly write an essay. I can say, the skills I’ve learned in AP Language have definitely been used time and time again in college. Looking back at my memories in Room 23, I realized that from AP Language to AP Literature, I transformed myself into a writer, and I felt like you were there to help cheer on every little improvement in each of the essays I wrote. In AP Literature, I carried that same love for books that I had in freshman year, to senior year, and it was the first year that I actually looked forward to book discussions and writing full essays on the literature we were reading. One of my favorite memories was the AP Lit murder mystery, when my friends and I sprinted around campus, answering literary questions while short of breath. Your class felt less like a requirement, and more of an experience I will never forget.

Though I could reminisce more on my days of being in high school, I will conclude that these teachers taught me some valuable life lessons inside the classroom that I will never forget. And for the person reading this, I hope during quarantine you take some time to thank those teachers that inspired you to become a better student, or even a better person. And to all of the teachers and future teachers reading this, thank you for your compassion and determination to teach others; you just might change someone’s life.