They have, no doubt, learned a great deal over these past four years; not just academically, mind you, but also in the realms of life skills, cultivating and nurturing relationships, and learning from both mistakes and triumphs.
It is for this reason that I thought reflection was in order: reflection that can help our next generation of upperclassmen, juniors and seniors, as they navigate through similar waters and build upon their knowledge as IB scholars. So, here it is: advice from your seniors to you...those who have successfully reached the summit of IB Language and Literature in the DP program. They were the "official first" to finish it, so really take their words to heart! And to you seniors who are quoted here, please know that I have learned just as much, if not more, from working with you as you did in this classroom. I will miss you terribly, but I am ALWAYS and FOREVER in your corner, cheering you on, through all of life's challenges and celebrations! LOTS of love, gratitude, prayer and pride to YOU from me!
Buckle up, here we go...
To the kids who have not yet been through their first year of IB Language and Literature, and those about to begin their second, we have some advice that will help you get through the two years…
First and foremost, DO YOUR WORK ON TIME. Some credit is better than no credit/getting points docked for it being late. But do try your best. I find it great looking back on my written tasks, projects, and other assignments. You can really see your growth by doing that, so save your work and keep it organized.
Try to relax and have fun. I'm not just saying this to make you feel better, it's true: I really enjoy DP Language and Literature. Don't make it stressful, and it doesn't have to be. Just do your best, and you'll make it through just fine :)
Although we write many written tasks over the two years, appreciate them. You get to be creative with them and pretty much have your own structure. Also make sure you use the in class time. That is a whole 65 minutes to help get a start on your written task. The time Mrs. Caraway gives in class helps tremendously, but only if you use your time correctly!
Learn to love "Critical Friends." Although the first time doing it can be hard and scary, because who am I kidding, who wants to sit in silence and listen to your friends tear apart your essay? But with all the great feedback they give, it is something you most likely would never have thought to add. Therefore, you are able to add to your word count and come out with a better written task.
Listen in class. Although Mrs. Caraway doesn't yell at students for being on their computers in class and for not really paying attention like most teachers do. The things you learn in IB language and literature build on knowledge that you can use in other classes, at home, and definitely in college or the work field. We don't just discuss books, but culture, and the history behind these cultures, novels and plays.
A piece of advice I would like to give to the incoming juniors is to be prepared to be challenged because language and literature is not just about reading books or writing essays, it involves critically thinking about pieces of text and applying that into a bigger context.
My advice to the future year one and year two DP language and literature is to not procrastinate when it comes to writing your written tasks. It is a lot less stressful to write the written tasks in sections. Also, make sure to actually read all of the novels and plays. You will definitely be missing out if you don't!
Make sure you're extremely interested in whatever you pick for your Written Task One. It's much easier to write a thousand words about something you're passionate about.
Put your best foot forward on all of your QPA's. They may seem restrictive, but you'll learn to love the structure.
Make a template for the QPA so you never forget the structure!
Always ATFQ. ALWAYS. Don't worry...you'll soon learn what that means!!
Read books you're interested in for your summer assignment. Like with the WT1, it's much easier to read a book you're interested in.
Start your summer assignment early. Don't be the kid who has to spend the last week of summer inside on your computer, writing!
TAKE GOOD NOTES!
Make sure you mark in your text, especially parts you go over in class. You might even want to invest in a digital copy of the book to type in notes you take.
If you're having trouble with one of the books, read the chapter first, and then go over the Shmoop or Sparknotes. Not the other way around.
Ask questions! Seriously!
Try to find ways to see the characters in modern day, it'll help when you are trying to go over their characteristics.
I want to tell you to buy all of your books during the summer and to put them in your backpacks. Trust me, if you don't, they WILL magically disappear. Also, plan out how you're going to write your written tasks before you even read your novels/plays. It may sound ridiculous, but get a good feel for the book.
As you are entering the second year, make sure to keep up on all of your assignments. Senior year goes by extremely fast, enjoy it, but do not forget about your responsibilities! Senior ditch day is extremely fun, but make sure you have everything ready beforehand, so you do not fall behind.
These blogs are actually fun! Seeing that I love to write casually, the blogs are a free space to respond in anyway you would like! There's not a set structure, and you can honestly say anything you would like.
The blogs are easy points! They will add up quickly and can make or break your grade. Just do them. AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. They don't take up much of your time. Just take the points.
Read the book. Even when you think they are boring. If I had a penny for each time I wanted to fall asleep while reading Jane Eyre, I would be a billionaire. However, I wouldn't have passed my written task if I didn't push through. The books can be boring, but Mrs. Caraway has this amazing way of talking about the books in a totally different way! She makes you want to know more about the story, she makes you feel a part of the story.
There is no "busy work."
Everything that is assigned to you
has a purpose. Remember that.
HAVE FUN. Throughout all of my years at Odyssey, I never quite felt like I was having fun while learning through multiple subjects until this class. Mrs. Caraway is funny, and often lets us discuss things as a class to help with understanding. We often turn and face each other and talk about our experiences with whatever subject is being taught. This helps tremendously....
and we almost always end up in a class full of laughter!
So if you decide to stick with IB Language and Literature for the full two years, I promise you that it will become one of your favorite classes!
Now...FUTURE seniors, and those scholars just about to begin the journey that is IB Lang and Lit, DP, it is your turn to comment. What are you MOST excited about? What are your fears? OR, what words of advice really helped soothe your fears or inspire you? I cannot WAIT to begin and continue the journey with YOU!