RAHS’ English department mixes things up

Mr. Storer teaches his fourth period Literature and Composition II class about the devices used in some “Country of Appointed Firs” passages.
Photo By: Semay Alazar

At the end of last year, AP Language and AP Literature teacher Mary Ciccone-Cook left RAHS. Former freshman English teacher Wayne Storer is taking on AP Literature, while Sarah Fitzpatrick is teaching AP Language; both are collaborating to instruct sophomore English.

“I’ve taken AP training for a couple of different courses during summer,” said Fitzpatrick. “I have learned new techniques and strategies to use in the classroom which I really appreciate.”

One of Storer’s major career goals is to teach AP literature. He was inspired by a teacher to teach who was dedicated and passionate.

“It has been one of my major career goals to teach AP Literature,” said Storer. “The most impactful teacher in my high school experience was my AP Literature teacher, Juan Christian.”

Storer’s drive to teach AP Literature was also a result of his love for reading.

“My decision to become an English teacher (and not another subject) was heavily influenced by my lifelong love of literature,” said Storer.

To Storer, having Fitzpatrick as a partner has been incredibly beneficial.

“I love it! I am learning so much from Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s approach. It was so meant to be. The approaches to teaching skills that I am starting to notice are her strengths are my weaknesses,” said Storer. “Just in two months I have learned more about scaffolding texts and breaking down larger tasks into discrete and specific tasks, than I probably learned in my first nine years of teaching.”

Fitzpatrick also has nothing but good things to say about working in a partnership with Storer.

“Having someone to teach lessons and talk about strengths and weaknesses, [it] is great having that kind of support system,” said Fitzpatrick. “A lot of the work that we’re doing [is] very important, we’re also recognizing that there are other possible ways to do them.”

Fitzpatrick feels fortified working with a partner and believes Storer has strengths that work with hers.

“I think it’s refreshing and nice to be able to bounce ideas off with someone else,” said Fitzpatrick. “I think that working with a partner is valuable and we both have different strengths.”

Sophomore Naba Deyab, former student of Storer, now student of Fitzpatrick, feels there is a difference in their teaching structure.

“Overall, I would say his teaching style was very structured, but it wasn’t set in stone. He went off of his schedule and goals,but also what his students needed,” said Deyab. “Mrs. Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, comes off as a lenient teacher, who runs her class according to what’s needed to be done, but hardly ever pushes it farther.”

Deyab believes that Storer has a more stringent style than Fitzpatrick.
“Personally, Mr. Storer’s teaching style was a bit more meticulous, and seemed to have a stricter set of deadlines,” said Deyab. “We were taught what we needed for the assignments, and were able to go to him if we needed anything more.”

Storer intertwined his working environment with congenial activities.

“At the same time, he also was this really entertaining teacher who always tried to make sure his class was engaged, and had several uplifting relationships with his students,” said Deyab. “Making sure they were doing okay, and attempting to make their day brighter if it wasn’t going so well.”

Deyab challenges previous notions that Fitzpatrick is significantly more lenient than Storer.

“[Fitzpatrick’s] approach is different from Mr. Storer in the way that it’s a lot less structured. It’s not a bad thing or way of teaching since she’s done it for the past several years,” said Deyab. “Though when you walk into her classroom, we often have a loose schedule up on the board (bullet points of what we’re doing), along with a reminder of what might be due.”

Deyab thinks Fitzpatrick’ style and relationship with students is different compared to Storer’s.

“Her teaching style is almost like a conversation, and she often takes input from her students right on the spot, and makes changes either immediately or almost immediately,” said Deyab.  “As for relationships with her students, her and Mr. Storer both care about their students. Often times, people say Mrs. Fitzpatrick is more approachable, but I see both teachers as approachable and willing to talk”.

Some of Storer’s favorite texts have been explored in a book club he is a part of.

“I have been in a book club for several years that reads only texts used on the AP Literature test,” said Storer. “In this quote book club, we have spent countless hours discussing reasons for teaching these novels, approaches to teaching them, and the desire to teach some of our absolute favorite texts.”

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