Jelani Barro
ENG 1121 – E-115
Instructor: Sarah Schmerler

My Journey

Dear Professor Schmerler:
As you know, My Journey so far has brought me to be a graduate at our 2019 commencement, on Monday, June 3. This isn’t the end of the road for me as you know, I’m currently on the hunt for a PhD Program to start in the Spring of 2020. The road thus far has been rocky, losing my grandfather in the middle of the semester was not easy. I also extend my condolences to you as, we did share losing a family around the same time; although extended for you, but close for your son. Life has a way of keeping us on our toes and sometimes seems to be very unfair and bitter. I will always try my best to remain optimistic however and always try to look at the brighter side of things, after all, we get to write our own stories in our mind so we might as well make them the best. Here are a few things I would like to share with you about my journey in your class.

The first day was quite interesting, Muaz and I thought we were early sitting and waiting for class to start, tuned out we were in the wrong class, next door across the hall. It wasn’t until a male professor walked in, the I realized something must be wrong. It was, we were in a biology class. We rushed over toy your class and there you were, I thought a very cool looking professor with style, your haircut and clothes gave me the impression of an artist, I was right as you did mention to us that you were. I read on “Rate my Professor that you were an amazing teacher and someone who taught unconventionally, your students loved you and had nothing but positive reviews for you; you were actually the top highest rating professor in your category. I am glad I checked it and found you. You turned out to be everything and more that I read about you from your reviews. You have a way of connecting to our subconscious, so that even when I’m on the subway or at home, your voice and your lessons would pop up in my memory – “If you want to become better writers, you must read”, “Writing is re-writing”, “genre” – Genre was the theme throughout the whole class. I never thought of English as such, I always seemed to compartmentalize every subject in their own category and kept them there. This class has really turned out to be more than I ever expected. When I heard about our new structure of how the class was going to be conducted, I was very excited and really looked forward to participating. I really did enjoy this new structure and it worked well for me. I loved not being constrained by strict guidelines of being graded. I think I learned more this way, because my work wasn’t summed up by some subjective correction, rather I was guided along each unit to reflect on my errors and remember to use correct them on my own, or at least become better at doing so, as I practiced writing within each units.

Two of my main errors are, improving my technical skills with punctuations and my tendency to use a lot tautology in expressing myself. I even recognize that in the way I speak sometimes, maybe that’s the teacher in me. I do repeat myself a lot to make sure I’m being understood, or to express an important thought of mine. I think my writing has improved because of you lessens you’ve taught me, and I will forever be grateful and remember you as my professor, especially when I write and use a semicolon, or just replacing it with a comma. I will also always remember and thank you for your assistance and support along my journey this semester with the valedictorian process. I did get selected, but your support and advice has come to mean more to me than the disappointment I felt, therefore, was an integral part of my speedy recovery. Thank you.

As I wrap up this journey I would like to give a few words of encouragement. Please don’t ever change your style of teaching, it is effective and I wish more students would be so lucky to become a student of yours. I hope you will remain inspired and never become weary to continue to inspire others like myself. You are truly an amazing teacher and we are all truly lucky and blessed to have had the opportunity to be your students. Thank you, I wish you all the best in life, and I will try to remain in touch with you, especially to let you know when I find my PhD program.