Aim Academy: Literature with Susan Spivey Reviews
Greetings, I’m Susan Spivey and I love to talk about good books and great writers. When I’m not reading a book, talking about a book, or writing about a book, I bake! In all seriousness, I view teaching high school literature as not only a personal joy, but a privilege. Sharing the insights I have gained over the years about writers and their works is deeply satisfying. Too often students have been challenged to read stories, poems, and novels without having the tools to make sense of what they find within the pages. I strive to make the reading come alive and help students enjoy their journey through literature, not simply survive it. I structure my classes so students can respond to the reading in a variety of ways. In addition to class discussion, students have the opportunity to write, create art, act, and even sing their response to an assigned piece of writing. Having the ability to give perceptive feedback on literature is a skill all high school students need as they prepare for college. My goal is to help them attain it.
J.S., PA – February 19, 2016
Mrs. Spivey’s literature class challenged and equipped me for college in a way few other high school experiences did. The class, which I took at a homeschool co-op during my senior year, surveyed great Christian literature with a diverse and challenging reading list. Our class meetings were a chance for Mrs. Spivey to push her students to think critically about the material we read; she encouraged us to reevaluate our presuppositions and validated our thoughtful opinions, even when she didn’t share them. This open discussion stood in contrast to many high school classes that shielded authors from critique. Mrs. Spivey’s approach to in-class discussion helped prepare me for college literature and writing classes, where criticism of an author and their worldview is encouraged. Her love of literature was apparent in everything she did; from her enthusiasm in class to her warm invitations to continue discussions and reading outside of it, Mrs. Spivey was a hugely influential teacher who was instrumental in my decision to pursue English and writing as a part of my college and career.
Parent, PA – February 19, 2016
Susan Spivey does an excellent job of instilling the love of learning and literature into her students. I have had two children participate in her English/Literature classes, and even though they enjoyed reading before, Susan was able to unlock areas of interpretation that allowed them both to understand more fully what the authors are attempting to convey. Her writing assignments challenged them to think deeply and put into their own words portions of specific text. Susan also challenges her students by assigning projects that may not be in their particular strength. For example: Not only do the students write, but some assignments may require them to perform a dramatization or an art project. She realizes that not all the students have the same strengths, but she motivates them to branch out and try something new. Susan also wants each of her students to succeed and encourages them to use whatever gifts or abilities they have to do their best. Thank you, Susan, for using Literature to help my children to mature and flourish.
E. C. – May 15, 2017
I enjoyed reading many different kinds of writing from a wide array of authors and eras. I also enjoyed class discussion. Mrs. Spivey always made class time interesting and informative by providing direction where needed but also opening up time for discussion of our own perspectives and interpretations, allowing us to grow further. Mrs. Spivey is very passionate about what she teaches, which makes this course very fun. She asks engaging question and encourages the class to be readers that meditate on the works they read and analyze the contents. Mrs. Spivey is open to new perspectives form her students and never ignores or discounts a persons thoughts. This course taught me how to analyze a work of literature and form an extensive understanding of it. This course also gave many opportunities for practice of creating well-developed and detailed papers about a piece of literature. -American Literature Student
G. Beaumont – May 15, 2017
(Mrs. Spivey) has a vast knowledge of writing, is extremely friendly and kind, and super understanding. Not many teachers WANT their students to learn, they just want them to pass and be done with. I know she genuinely cared about how I did. Mrs. Spivey encouraged class participation and asked us open ended questions, which led to helpful explanations and wonderful discussion. I now have read multiple poems, essays, short stories, plays and understood them. I know how to dissect a poem and how to figure out what the author is trying to convey. I know how to write over ten page papers and keep them interesting! I can see how literature ties into art, science, politics, history and everyday life. I have learned to handle a workload and manage my time better. And lastly, I have learned what it is like to have a deadline (Oh and I had a wonderful teacher, I don’t think I could find a better one).
N.A. ~British Lit student
Mrs. Spivey encouraged class participation and asked us open ended questions, which led to helpful explanations and wonderful discussion. I now have read multiple poems, essays, short stories, plays and understood them. I know how to dissect a poem and how to figure out what the author is trying to convey. I know how to write lastly, I have learned what it is like to have a deadline (Oh and I over ten page papers and keep them interesting! I can see how literature ties into art, science, politics, history and everyday life. I have learned to handle a workload and manage my time better. And had a wonderful teacher, I don’t think I could find a better one).
W.Q. ~American Lit student
Mrs. Spivey explains the reading well in class and helped me to understand many things I wouldn’t have noticed or understood completely from the reading. Her corrections on assignments and essays are also helpful and clear. If I started to fall behind on submissions, she emailed me to ask if anything was wrong (which is helpful in getting me to get back on track). The feedback was great. It was clear and I knew exactly what I had done wrong, or what I had to improve.
Example of student paper: BritishLitInterpretivePaper