Each year at our graduation ceremony each student's favorite memory or verse is read as they walk across the stage. As I was told at an afternoon party, this was the intent of T—‘s memory. "T—'s favorite memory was everything in AP English except the timed writings." The following is what was read: "T—'s favorite memory was everything except the timed writings in AP English." Either way, it gives a pretty accurate picture of their sentiment on days they walked into class when I held an essay prompt in my hand.
I laughed with the audience at graduation and I laughed again at the party because I know something that they cannot know until they take that exam: The near weekly timed essay is the most important thing we do all year in AP—more than any work we study, more than any literary device they memorize.
It’s in the constant and continued writing that they ever so slowly practice and begin to put what they’ve learned and what they think into a logical and stylistic presentation. And, the timed factor just adds more pressure that develops more focus.
Like writing, many things in life must be practiced over and over—often unwillingly, often through trials and tribulations—until we emerge perfected before the face of Jesus in Heaven.
So, as I make them write, write, write and they grumble, grumble, grumble—I just laugh because I know in the end they’ll write something like this: “T—‘s favorite memory was everything, except timed writings, in AP English.”