Reflection Paper (English)
Upon coming into homeroom on the first day of school, I finally received my schedule which was filled with teachers I would expect to have, except for one, Mr. Gallagher. I didn’t know what to expect, I never met him, I didn’t have him freshman year, and I was agonizing over whether or not I should be concerned about my senior year. In retrospect, I should have been but that had nothing to do with Mr. G or his teaching style. I had just come off a year of English which was by far the best English class I had ever had in my life, where we wrote a lot and talked a lot and read a lot.
When I received the first book we read this year, The Stranger by Albert Camus, I had been misled. The book seemed like light reading with maybe a little bit of needed analysis, but I never believed that I would have to think so much about a book I in general didn’t really care about. When Mr. G was ranting about these characters and books I was dumbfounded, because I mean really who cares this much about the smallest of occurrences in novels? The first quarter ended up coming as a reality check to me, as I found that I could not B.S. the papers like I had done successfully for the previous years and my grade, unfortunately my grade reflected that philosophy.
I didn’t enjoy most of the group work to be honest, for many reasons that may remain obvious and be reflected by the following assignments. The analytical essays in the Portrait book, proved to be time wasters for the members of our discussion groups, because it came down to me and “another” (not going to release name because of public blogging etiquette) member of my group doing all the real analyzing, but I am not grudging. It proved to be a life lesson and class lesson that I would never forget, always read the book and its contents because you will be left for dead.
I do not much care for art or artists, because they encourage the extinction of the written word. However, the research paper was quite involved and complex. I did like my artist, Max Ernst, and his life and history. I remember spending my entire day off on Saturday, going to the library and running home to craft my paper. Surely enough, six hours later I had a well written paper that was an amazing twelve pages long. That is another thing I grew to love this year, my growing attention to the details that matter about my writing. I was able to use these developing skills even further on the school newspaper, The Blue and Gold, to review the works of underclassmen and make it even better.
I mean that was another thing I did not quite grasp during the year was all the focus on art work because it really had nothing to do with the curriculum until the fourth quarter (I know that is criticism, but I am making a point). I mean what is the real point of describing a picture in a thousand words or more? All those paintings were just a bunch of coincidental likelihoods that followed the stories in which we were reading.
Reflecting back on the year, I learned a hell of a lot from Mr. G. Judging from what I was expecting or not the year I feel would prove to be good preparation for college and the papers I plan to perfect in my newer surroundings. Because of this I feel it is my obligation to thank Mr. G for seeing the true essence of literature and what it means to write.