Welcome to 4800 from Former Students

Students of English 4800: 
Welcome to Allen’s Class!  First, if you have already scanned the syllabus and are starting to feel a bit overwhelmed and short of breath, do not worry!  You are going to be fine and will learn more in this semester than you ever planned or expected.  Even though assignments seem to be crammed into such a short amount of time and you have no idea how you are going to accomplish everything, think of it as a positive way to learn as much vital information as possible before you are released in a classroom where you have to fend for yourself.  Overall, use this experience to learn everything that you can and take in all of the positive ideas that Allen has.  This class has so many learning possibilities!  Remember to have fun!  -- Lane VanderWeele 

Well, hello, and welcome new English 4800 students!
Congratulations are in order for making it this far in your educational career. Can you see the light at the end of the tunnel?  It is perfectly okay for those of you who may be feeling slightly hesitant, anxious or worried about this course -- Allen has high standards and there is a lot of work involved, but in the end, everything you will have completed will help immensely and will be worth while. There is no busy work --everything you accomplish will help in your future endeavors.  Take advantage of all the class discussions that you will have in this class and make an honest effort to build relationships with your peers.  You never know who will help you out in the future, or what little tid-bit of info will pop into your head from discussions that will assist you in your future.
Best of luck! (you'll definitely need it) (just kidding) =) -- Lauren

Dear Students of Allen,
This class seems really intense at first, and at time you will want to pull out your hair, but in the end it is worth it. I have learned so much through out this semester, and I would argue that it is the most important class that I have take through out my educational career at Western. If you take away half of what this class has to offer your future career as a teacher, you will be a teacher that inspires and creates life long readers and learners in your classroom.   Just remember to slow down and know that all of the work done in this class will be worth it in the end, --  Nikki

Future students,
As you may have noticed, Allen is full of enthusiasm, and spunk. He loves to have full and vibrant discussions so be prepared to talk and participate as much as you possibly can. You all may be intimidated and feel as if this class is going to take over your life, BUT please understand and trust me when I say, it really is not that bad at all. And everything that you do, turn in, and participate in will all be beneficial to you now as an upcoming teacher and for you in the future as future intern teachers/real life teachers. By the end of this class you will be equipped with the knowledge, tools, and ideas to go on and move towards your careers. Good luck to all of you, try your hardest and never say you can't. Allen is a great resource for ideas, creativity, and experience so never be afraid to ask him questions, and besides he loves to talk and help you as much as he can. Congratulations on making it this far, you are almost there!  -- Shannon Krasnicki

…I was overwhelmed by his [Allen’s] enthusiasm towards everything he does. On the first day of 4800, my eyes couldn't believe what I was reading across the syllabus, mounds of work accumulated in just a few short weeks…  As time progressed, I realized the assignments, discussions, and lessons could be done for experience and enjoyment rather than grades…  The tools you will learn are invaluable and the artifacts created within the 12 weeks will serve as gold stars on a resume…  there is not enough money in the world that could pay for the information I've gained through English 4800.  -- Rachel Rosenbach 

You and Allen are not going to agree on everything; in fact, you may get into some heated arguments and he will get very animated.  Stand your ground and don't give in, because even if he disagrees with you, he will respect you more for not folding over - trust me, I've been there.  At the end of the day, as long as you show up and put a little effort and thought into the class (and stand up for what you believe in), you will succeed.  One last thing - you have to actively TRY to not get an A or B in this class, so do the work! -- Joe

Students of Allen's future 4800 class,
Congratulations on joining this classroom.  I do not think you really know what you got yourself into.  This class is beneficial in many ways and you will learn a lot of great elements to use in your classroom someday.  However, be ready to work your butt off to receive the grade you deserve.  Do not think that you can just get by in this class.  Allen will not even let you do this even if you wanted too.  Work your hardest on everything you are doing because you will want to use all these assignments in your classroom.  If you invest your time in this class, then you will take a lot of elements outs of it like how to make a website, creating a cultural studies unit plan, and leading your own classroom.  Enjoy the experience and your time left as a student.  

Future English 4800 students,  
The first day of English 4800 was intimidating.  I felt a little bit out of place considering I wasn't a English major.  The workload seemed overwhelming and I was concerned where I was going to find the time to balance this course and three others.  It took a couple of weeks to settle in and adjust to the rapid pace the course was going.  After the first month, I felt much more comfortable in the classroom.  This was due mostly to feeling more comfortable within my peers.  The way discussions are held in this course is to ensure the participation of every student.  This may come as a surprise to those students who aren't as willing to share in class.  My advice to you is to take this opportunity to open up.  Being able to collaborate effectively with your colleagues is important as you transition from being the learner to teacher.  Best of luck to you all.   -- Amanda 

Dear 4800 students,         
Everyone should be aware of Allenisms and his enthusiastic behavior.  Although the syllabus seems super intimidating and daunting the work is not as extreme as you would think.  What Allen does require of all of his students is that they at least put forth a positive attitude, good attendance, an open mind and to think critically and outside the box.  The most important thing is to PARTICIPATE in all the discussions, you will not take anything away from this class if you do not participate and provide some thoughtful points.  If any student thinks that they can just scoot on by without participating in discussion then they you are WRONG!  Allen will call on you with out a doubt every single class period, even if you hand is not raised.  Participating is not an option but a requirement.  I think that all students should be aware of Allen's circle fetish.  Before the class even starts all the desks should be arranged in a perfect circle!  Each student should be able to see everyone else in the room (this adds to the discussion factor).  Overall, everyone should leave 4800 with some knowledge of cultural studies and how to teach literature.  Have fun!  -- Holly Bruning

Dear Future 4800 student, 
Allen has a lot of ambitious ideas and his syllabus may initially seem intimidating.  Some of those ambitious ideas will work out favorably, (like the website, even though the production of it may seem like hell) and others may not work at all.  But Allen's a good student.  He evaluates himself frequently and makes changes to his teaching that benefit his students.  I think that's a skill we all need to practice more often.  Allen has extreme views about the teaching of literature, and even if you don't agree with his methodology, challenging his views will help you learn more about your own. Best of luck.  -- Gina 

As a graduate of Western Michigan University I did not intend to come back and get a second minor in English.  The experience was terrible and stressful, but this class was one that I looked forward to.  Allen is an extremely intelligent person, do not try to fool him and ask him as many questions as possible.  Allen is not the type of person that is willing to waste your time or give you tasks that have little to no meaning.  Everything that you do in this course has a reason and will help you as a teacher.  Discussion is important and I have learned a great deal about how to conduct a classroom discussion and about volunteering to speak in this class.  Please take this course seriously even if it seems that Allen is not, everything that he does has a purpose.  -- Dal Pell 

Allen, Thank you so much for preparing a great class for us this spring. I am very appreciative of everything you have taught me and had me do. This class has prepared me immensely for my internship and my future in teaching. I would love to keep in contact with you. I know that you are a very good resource and I would love to be able to contact you and ask you questions. Thanks again! 


Created by: careywebb@wmich.edu
Revised Date: 8/14