Welcome to AP Lit!

Each year my students do summer work to prepare for the upcoming school year. Part of the work includes a letter from me to my students, and they write a letter to me introducing themselves. I’m sharing this letter because these thoughts and feelings are most likely what many of your children’s teachers feel  at the beginning of the year. We love your kids and look forward to spending the year with them! 

Welcome to senior English!

This next year is a significant year as you start your transition to life after high school, and I am looking forward to sharing this year with you. My hope is that this class will go far beyond the required standards required by College Board and the state of Georgia but instead become a place where we cheer each other on to finishing strong and making the most of your senior year. 

We will spend a lot of time in this class reading a variety of texts – old, new, poetry, prose – and writing about these texts. The reading and writing are secondary to the most important work that we will be doing all year – learning how to become better thinkers and pushing ourselves to consider new thoughts and ideas which will help us grow. I use first person pronouns here because I, like you, will be growing and learning alongside you and often from you. By opening our hearts to prose and poetry and our minds to new ideas found in them or other classmates’ thoughts about them, we will finish the year different than how we began. This is the real goal of education. 

What should you know about me? I’m an eternal optimist, lover of the written word, and am passionate about teaching and the next generation. This is my second year at Grady after teaching for a decade in the suburbs. I will spend my summer doing teacherish things like reading 1,500 AP Lit essays at the AP reading, attending a Shakespeare workshop in DC, going to a conference with a few other Grady teachers in San Diego (where my daughter will fly out to meet me for a few days of fun), and hopefully moving into the city. I’m an active reader who reads about one book per week (you can follow reading on my GoodReads account) and an active writer with a professional website APLitHelp.com which provides resources for ELA teachers across the world and a personal blog. The last thing you should know about me is I love coffee, will have a cup in hand at most times, will make coffee for y’all, and will return papers with coffee stains on them. 

Now it’s your turn. I would like for you to write a letter to me telling me about you, but like most things in life, there’s a twist. Here are three of my favorite poems: “Good Bones” by Maggie Smith, “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver, and “If–“ by Rudyard Kipling. Read and think about these poems deeply; let them roll around in your mind and your soul. Then write your letter to me introducing yourself including your thoughts on ONE of these poems. Remember: “it’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see.”

You can give your letters to me on the first day of school. I can’t wait to meet you!

Cheering you on, 

Susan Barber

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