AP Lang students find familiar face

Felicia Solazzo, Staff Writer

Returning to school after summer break usually means new clothes, new schedules and new teachers. But a majority of students taking Advanced Placement English Language and Composition will have the same English instructor they had as sophomores. While Jeanie Griffin has been teaching 10th grade English since she arrived at the school in 2008, she has an AP English Language certification, an AP English Literature certification, an International Baccalaureate Higher Level certification and is certified to teach college-level English and humanities.

“When I applied to West Shore, [Mary] Mason was teaching AP Lang and doing a phenomenal job, and [Nancy] Gray was teaching AP Lit. I was happy teaching 10th grade, and did not ask to teach a different grade level,” Griffin said. “This past year, Mrs. Mason and I both were feeling the need for a change, which is good for teachers to do on occasion, so we spoke with the administration, and they agreed to let us swap.”

In order to teach the course this year, Griffin had to attend an AP Language recertification training this summer.

“I am excited to teach AP Lang,” Griffin said. “I like change and am looking forward to teaching different novels, as well as teaching high level critical analysis, which is the focus of AP Lang.”

Before coming to West Shore, Griffin taught 12th grade IB and AP and 10th combo at Cocoa Beach. In addition, she worked at Brevard Community College for five years, including summers. Her last course at BCC as an adjunct was during the summer of 2011, right before the last school year.

“I was teaching up to three classes per semester, which is quite a lot of work,” Griffin said. “When Mr. Fleming asked me to take on CRS [Department Chair] responsibilities and a few other extra duties, I quit teaching at BCC because my responsibilities to West Shore come first.”

Knowledge from Griffin’s past teaching positions will be beneficial while teaching AP Lang material.

“Since I taught Humanities at BCC, I am looking forward to teaching students how literature connects to humanities, which is part of the AP Lang and AP Lit program,” she said.

Griffin plans to work closely with Mason this year during the department’s transition.

“Mrs. Mason has a strong AP program in place, so I plan on using much of the same curriculum she used,” Griffin said. “My goals are to maintain a strong program, teach the students the skills they need to be successful and have a high pass rate on the AP test.”

Typically, students take AP Lang during their junior year. Griffin taught many of this year’s AP Lang students during their sophomore year.

“I have had the opportunity to have students two years in a row at various times in my career, and I find it has many positive aspects,” she said. “My students know me and know my expectations, which is a plus in the beginning of the year. Also, I know my students’ strengths and which skills they need to focus on improving.”

Griffin looks forward to continue building relationships.

“The best thing about having the same kids two years in a row is that I get to continue to work with kids I have formed working relationships with,” Griffin said. “I enjoy my students, and it is always sad to see them leave at the end of the year, so it is always nice when I get to have them again.”

Junior Monty Karas, who had  Griffin for world literature during her sophomore year said she’s happy to have the same teacher again this year.

“I think [Griffin] is extremely qualified to teach the class,” Karas said. “She really goes above and beyond to make sure her students are prepared for what the course requires.”