Finally, I have arrived to my senior year of high school. Once I returned and set foot in school on the first day I asked myself, “Who am I going to have as my teachers this year?” I looked at those usual seven block periods and saw classes like Trigonometry, Marine Bio, but then I skipped all the way down to my English 12 Honors class. It was my third English Honors class since I was a sophomore. This made me excited because I have always loved English, really: the poetry that was forthcoming, some free-writing, and of course those inevitable long essay papers. I then looked over at the names of my teachers and my English Honors teacher turned out to be Mr. Gallagher, “dang, who’s this?” I said to myself, because I had hoped that it would be my teacher from freshman and junior year, Mr. DiBenedetto. Through the day, it was the usual introductions and course syllabus and school supplies needed for those classes, but then I stepped into my English class and encountered Mr. Gallagher, later known as Mr. G (G-Money).
I remember the first week of English class with Mr. G and the assignment already assigned to us. It was on Ted Berrigan’s “Red Shift” poem. I thought “great! We’re already going into poetry! Just how I like it, this class is going to be cool!” but then Mr. G gave us another assignment, an explication paper. I said, “What is this!? I’ve never even written explication papers,” but I didn’t bother to ask Mr. G because that first week, we had already developed a bad relationship. From “wake-up Son!” to “I don’t need you to make me look bad if teachers walk in” we began our relationship in a frustrating conflict I thought. The night I began writing the “Red Shift” explication is one of the night’s I remembered most. I was confused and puzzled at the time asking myself, what an explication was; even reading the explication rubric didn’t help. I thought, “Wow I better just start this or else I’m going to get a bad grade,” it turned out to be a good and bad idea. Good because I finished the assignment on time but bad because I still received a bad grade, a D to be exact. Then to make it worse, more explications came my way. The Stranger passage explication on which I received a worse grade on, a D-, broke my confidence and made me want to drop out of this class and move into an English CP class. Instead, I decided not to give up and persevered to make it past the first quarter and do better on the second. In fact, I finally broke our bad relationship and attempted to talk to Mr. G one afternoon and asked “What can I do to get better grades in your class,” he replied, “just put the effort in what you write and you know, don’t procrastinate.” I thought, the usual reply from a teacher, but it was so true.
Moreover, I also remember working on James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. This book was the hardest book I have ever read, and then comes an explication assignment for this too. I thought “Man, how am I going to pass,” miraculously I stayed up till five in the morning one night working on the whole explication and finally got a better grade, my first C+ in all of my papers. This was a huge accomplishment because I never thought I would be able to do an explication, but that night I felt like I just had it; I possess the ability to write at least a decent explication paper, and in the end I did a little better than average. I jumped from receiving sixties to a seventy-eight, I felt like I had won an award. Then another paper was assigned, this time a critical theory paper that Mr. G exclaimed would be one of the hardest paper that I would ever write. This time I stayed up the whole night, and I received one of the best grades in my papers, an eighty. I felt like I had truly developed in this class over the year and if I am able to do better on the next essay paper that Mr. G assigns, this helps me with my future because I know that if I don’t give up and keep on trying and believing that I’ll do better next time, I’ll keep on receiving good rewards I deserve in my life.