Ms. Amy Garritano, a tiny but mighty teacher, leaves a lasting impact on her students through her zealous love of writing.
Garritano describes writing as “to think, to study, to breathe! … AP Lang focuses on finding and developing voice and style; taking all of the rules of grammar and knowing them well enough to break them with purpose and effect; taking risks, becoming vulnerable; finding passion and skill we may not have known we possessed…”
This was not her first career choice. Ms. Garritano originally worked as a personal finance analyst. She left when the market took a turn around, getting her certification in teaching, always having had a passion for language and literature that would carry her to where she is today.
“I worked with a lot of fresh-out-of-college employees who lacked self-motivation, self-sufficiency, skills in critical thinking and problem-solving, and resiliency–skills that were necessary in the field and, in my opinion, essential to finding success in work and in life–I wanted to be able to help young people find within themselves the ability to be and to do these things,” she mentioned about another factor on why teaching students gained such value for her.
She approaches the effort to teach outside of just language, as Garritano is currently is working to get her certification to be a yoga teacher, an outside activity she loves to do (along with hiking her two dogs Kokoe and Duke).
Ms. Garritano possesses her own legend. Everyone has something to say — either good or bad — about how structured and strict she can be in her classroom. “Some students find relevance and value in working strictly with non-fiction, some don’t; some like the approach of a skills-based, student-centered course where what you get is directly correlated with what you put in, some don’t; some understand and appreciate my whiteboard scribbles, some don’t; some are ready for the challenge of presenting their best self each day (academic, attitudinal), some don’t realize until later.”
Her class is structured to a “T,” holding a value in knowing every day what you are to do and with open discussion where your peers can dictate your personal growth.
A hands off approach may or may not be appreciated, but in ways sets a realistic sense of what writing is: peer review, effort, and growth.