I can’t believe that an entire school year has passed. I still remember the first thing Mr. Gallagher said to me when I transferred into his class. It went something like, “Get in, Sit down, Hold on, shut up” only in far more eloquent tones. It’s hard to picture not walking into that class 5 seconds before the bell rings and Mr. G tells us for the thousandth time to get our notebooks out and be ready to discuss. Since that first day I’ve felt that I’ve grown more apt where English is concerned.
It was a big change to go from Ms. Halks junior English class, to Mr. Gallagher. I could tell from the start that the year was going to be an interesting one, and I was write. We started off the year by reading “The Stranger” by Camus. I had never heard about authors like Camus or even really considered that literature ahd it’s movements just like art did. Mr. Gallagher’s class really opened my eyes to that. And it showed me how much I needed to learn, namely how to write a decent explication. Admittedly I am still working on that. But Mr. G’s class forced me to start thinking of things in new ways and from different perspectives.
After the first novel we began working with a type of poem I had never seen before. The poem was titled “Red Shift” by Ted Berrigan. In a way the poem reminded me of madlibs. Where you fill in words that have been blanked out, but in the case of “Red Shift” you wanted to get a point across, rather then be funny. When we started trying to find deeper meanings in the things we read, that was when I realized that there was a lot about English I had never considered. Including how much different writers differed from one another.
Like in the case of Jack Kerouac, I had to read “The Town and the City” with another student and write blogs about what we found in the novel. Looking back now,. I realize how much was in that book and how much of it I completely missed out on. The blogs themselves are a great idea for students. It was common for Mr. G to give us an assignment on Thursday and have it due at 11:59 pm on Monday, the trick being, posting the piece on the blog rather then hand it to him in person. The other great thing about the blog was that it let us keep up with what was going on in class, Usually MR. G would post something new that had to do with what we were doing. Like the videos of professional actors playing the parts in different scenes from Hamlet. These scenes gave us a visual version of what is going on in the play, which is very different from the “acted” version we did in class. In fact Hamlet was my favorite piece of literature we worked with this year.
I think the reason I liked working with Hamlet so much, was because there were so many ways to look at a single line of text. It mad DJing and discussing the play very interesting. Considering that we read the entire play in class made my work load at home lighter and let me work on other projects. Acting out the scenes in the play using members of the class was tedious at some points, but when the group was in sync and we kept the flow of the novel moving, it made the unit so fun that it didn’t feel it was work. Wether or not this was Mr. G’s purpose, I don’t know. But it was defiantly a great experience.
I can tell that I’m taking a lot from just one class, and I am going to miss seeing all of my friends and the discussions that we had. But as with all things we must all move on. So Goodbye Mr. Gallagher, and everyone. This is Derek DaSilva signing off.