New to the second semester, but not to the school, English teacher Luke Hensley works to help students improve their writing and prepare for the upcoming May AP exam.
Before becoming an AP Language teacher, Hensley previously worked in the Writing Center as an English composition assistant for two and a half years. He has begun building relationships with students. “English lets students formulate their own opinions and answers, without only reiterating the teacher’s ideas, and allow for the building of authentic relationships,” Hensley said.
Adapting to the curriculum, Hensley focuses on using various teaching styles to help students individually. “As an instructor, I try to mix up the activities that we do, but also make sure certain aspects are the same every day so that students can improve and fall into a routine,” Hensley said.
Students think his adjustment to the classroom has been quick. “I think he has fit into the department well, but also has lower expectations for in-class essays than other teachers even though we wrote them every other week in the previous semester,” junior Val Zhao said.
Hensley believes the AP curriculum allows students to learn how to critically analyze texts but restricts student creativity in areas of writing. “I think the curriculum does a good job of instilling in students a sense of how to write a thesis driven analytical take on a given piece of writing. However, it falls short in creative expression due to lack of outlets for creative and more diverse forms of understanding literature,” Hensley said.
Hensley generally begins class everyday with journal entries as warm-ups before diving into the lesson of the day. “The class has been interesting, conversational, and energetic, which is rare for a first period AP Lang class,” junior Avana Wang said.
Hensley advises students who are struggling to talk to their teachers, communicate their needs, and to not be afraid to ask for help when needed. “Most of us are just as stressed out and busy as anyone else. If a student just levels with their teachers, then we can get the resources to help. This is the best way to make sure no one has a hard time and can work to become more successful,” Hensley said.