AP Language and Composition • Olentangy High School: Sarah Zettler This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 13, 2014
By , Lewis Center, OH
A writer at heart with dormant inspiration, I never took pride in school essays until Ms. Zettler's AP Language and Composition class senior year. Rather than promoting the cut-and-dry essay writing I'd grown accustomed to, she gave me the motivation to develop a unique writing style, a literary voice with resounding personal inflection. Ms. Zettler renewed my confidence in myself and encouraged me to be bold – to silence the doubting voice in my head that restrains my innate determination to write.

Beginning with my summer reading assignment, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, she provided time and the spark to ignite my inspiration. This book's insightful yet unconventional method of supporting aspiring writers foreshadowed the classroom experience to come. Instead of note-taking, memorizing, and definition-based learning, class time was often spent closely annotating the timeless works of profound authors. These pieces interested the class and helped us sharpen literary techniques in our own writing.

Ms. Zettler's daunting expectations were shrouded by her utter conviction in each student's ability to excel far beyond what they could envision. Rigorous feedback stimulated growth, and astounding improvement provoked pride following each rewrite. Guided to view these essays as an exploration of life and the world rather than the pursuit of a mere grade, Ms. Zettler offered me a chance to cultivate my writing – a gift far greater than a letter grade. Always available to assist discouraged students, Ms. Zettler worked not only during school hours but also after class to ensure each student had a chance to succeed.

Well beyond the classroom, Ms. Zettler enhances our school as organizer of the Diversity Club, a group promoting cultural acceptance and openness – in essence, maintaining a friendly, anti-bullying atmosphere among the student body.

Ms. Zettler should be recognized for her dedication helping our school as a whole, as well as individual students. The skills I mined from her class are precious literary jewels I will carry with me the rest of my life.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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