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English Letter

Dear Ms. Robertson,

I enjoyed the year in English AP even though I did not enjoy the grades you gave me. Although
my emotional attachment to the class is strong, the inability to receive an adequate amount of
satisfactory grades proves to stunt a kind of care I tend to carry for other classes. Although that is
my judgment, so is this letter. While the activities you have provided for us helped to reveal one
particular aspect myself, it has also emphasized my pragmatic side which conjures up the more
interesting arguments you have read over the semester. As far as what I learned about my own
writing, I ironically realize that the expression of my personal beliefs tends to lower my marks.
Thank you for helping me realize this.

One of the most important things I have learned this year is to provide a more qualitative context
of the essay I am writing. Many of my problems and your comments are somewhere along the
lines of “context please” or “expand” and even though my essays tend to get the idea across, it
seems to lack an adequate amount of explanation, thus landing many of my essays into the B+
category. In my East of Eden in class essay, you constantly ask me to provide more quotes or
provide more context for the situation, even though you say that my essay is interesting and
“[my] ideas and examples are helpful in putting together [my] argument.” This seems to be a
common occurrence as often times, during the peer edits, I was told I was rambling on in my
lead ins to my example and it is understandable: people require different amounts of evidence to
be convinced. Yet, the inconsistency between the class view and your comments proved to be
one of the most unnerving and frustrating aspects of this year. As a result, I have thrown together
a 10 page essay on the nature of power and how it affects the individual as my grand finale to
finally try and get that elusive A (not A-.) The logic makes sense (according to my peers) in most
of my essays but somehow, I do not get points for that.

Other times, I must emotionally detach myself from my essays in order to gain approval and high
marks. The health care speech vs the rite of passage essay is one very good example. Contrary to
what you might think, the speech itself was imbedded heavily with my opinions and a slight
touch of my emotions as I tried to appeal to my own sense of disdain for the system in the health
care speech by twisting the nature of the status quo to prove a particular downside. The rite of
passage one that discussed a particular incident had no emotion backing it because it was an over
exaggeration of the incident and I only wanted to appease the idea of a narrative writing prompt
instead of the idea of improving my own writing. Each of these received a B+ and an A-
respectively. For my speech, often times, the comments made little sense. For example, when
talked about the heavy burden of a new tax code to support a new health care system, you
“rebutted” with “there will still be universal health care,” which makes no logical sense as a
counter argument (how does universal health care matter when the people and the country cannot
afford health care?) However, when I talked about how a little boy was frustrated and clueless
about the nature of social expectations (not to different from the boy who is writing this essay,)
you seemed to give it the mark of “one of [my] strongest essays this year.” This is not shocking
though: giving someone what they want to hear regardless of your own opinions truly is the only
way one can succeed in this world. I thank you also for teaching me to abandon my own
opinions and conform to society.

As my growth as a writer, I find it very difficult to find any when the same grade has been given
over and over countless times. It convinces me that I have achieved no growth whatsoever in this
class, no matter how I change my writing. It leaves me with the conviction that I must drastically
change my writing, not minorly adjust it, in order to appease the people who decide my grades.
But I do not blame to teacher at all: it is my fault for assuming that the comments would be the
only thing I needed to improve my writing and for not coming to you more often to discuss the
comments. I accept all the blame for absence of growth as a writer.

Thus, my goals as a writer in the future is to become more and more apathetic to my own
opinions. As I have learned from the year, it is not my opinion that matters, but the teacher, even
if at times I do not agree with them. As seen in many pieces, my ideas, although they get across,
are not supported in adequate context. I therefore must thank you with an enormous amount of
gratitude: you have simply increased my cynicism of the education system. I thank you for such
an informative year and I leave my extensive essay on power and how it affects the individual as
a testament to the emotions I harbor as I look at my current grade of an 89%.

Sincerely yours,

Edbert