AP Lit is Not Lit

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BALDWIN PARK, CA– Seniors at Baldwin Park High School  understand the pressure and sleepless nights that come with taking AP Literature and Composition. Each weekend can be full with either numerous worksheets, reading logs, or quick paragraph analyses.

The teacher, Mrs. Wong, has been teaching AP Literature and Composition since 2001. Her goal is not only for the seniors to pass the exam in May, but to also help them gain inexpensive knowledge for the future. After all, students will have to read novels, write essays, and analyze various works of literature throughout college. English is an essential subject to learn. Mrs. Wong simply states, “There is no rest for the weary.”

Mrs. Wong has two AP Literature and Composition classes, one during third period and another during fifth. She uses different types of platforms to communicate with her seniors. In the beginning of the year, the classes utilized Chalk Up. After a while, they moved on to Google Classrooms. Students turn in their quick paragraph analyses and other important projects electronically, helping Mrs. Wong organize and grade her assignments. The only downside for the seniors may be that they’re due at a specific time, so there’s no time to procrastinate. Students are also able to use the provided Chromebooks in the classroom. Mrs. Wong also uses Remind.com, frequently texting students about the homework due the following day and other upcoming assignments.

A weekly schedule bulletin is always rewritten on the classroom’s whiteboard. There are worksheets on various days and timed essays every other Thursday. The seniors are currently juggling two novels at one time, Wuthering Heights, which has to be read on their own time throughout the week, and Brave New World, to be read in class together. In the first semester, students read Macbeth and many plays including A Doll’s House and Fences. It may seem overwhelming with other class homework and the senior project on top of everything, but it’s doable, especially for students who took AP Language and Composition with Mrs. Juniper. During second semester, the classes are currently working on poems and presenting on Google Slides with a partner. Each presentation must be filled out with an analytical SOAPSTone, specific literary devices, and deep final thoughts.

The scary part: Mrs. Wong only gave out five A’s the first semester. The key to earning an A in her class is to work consistently, be patient when writing, listen in class, read a lot, and use high vocabulary. Grades are pretty consistent, whether they be high or low. Many students are stuck where they are, while trying diligently to earn their A’s.

And what kind of responses are there when Mrs. Wong doesn’t assign anything? “Feels odd not having homework,” said BPHS senior Jesus Aguilar. “I have no homework this weekend, is this a joke?” BPHS senior Vanessa Soriano expressed. “We’re procrastinators but achievers,” BPHS senior Jennifer Aguilar said about the class of 2017.

Most importantly, much of the literature Mrs. Wong assigns can have an impact on the way her students think. Reading novels and plays from over a hundred years ago brings up the students’ different insights. After completing a novel, the class holds a socratic seminar, sitting in a circle and sharing opinions, Aristotle-style. “Nora from A Doll’s House is my fave character in all of literature hands down,” expressed BPHS senior Ann Mariel Pacada. “Honestly did not expect A Doll’s House to make me question the idea of duty this deeply,” said BPHS senior Sharon Tran.

The price that comes along with taking challenging classes is stress. However, taking AP Literature and Composition builds extreme worthwhile for college. In the end, everything the seniors attain is definitely worth it, especially with Mrs.Wong. She and her fun personality make class much more enjoyable.

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