Thank You, Ms. Landis

Roselind Zeng, Executive Copy Editor

Putting words to paper is incredibly difficult in any context— but painting the complexities of a person for all to see is an unattainable ideal. As such, Ms. Landis’ bubbly persona and immeasurable compassion shall never be restrained to the ink of a page.

At any rate, any rational high schooler would approach the AP track with a hefty salt block and and a ten-foot pole; language and composition, with its technical twists and turns, extends into the minefields of subjectivity. Going in blind without a guide would lead to a bloody, explosive demise, no doubt. Ms. Landis’ careful instruction leads her pupils around the pitfalls of the English language. The careful consideration she puts into each of her comments, be it on a worksheet or an essay, reminds everyone in class that all writing demands an audience: how one shapes a readers’ journey through the page is equally as important as knowing the difference between a metonymy and synecdoche. The tangible enjoyment she partakes in while traversing core texts alongside her students gives them another reason to keep reading… her attitude a reminder to enjoy the scenery while skimming the verbose landscape.

Yet it is not purely a particular teaching method that determines the caliber of a teacher’s abilities; it is their ability to nurture which sets an effective educator apart from some A.I. on wheels. Ms. Landis’ anecdotal tangents of bike rides across mountains and fields, her encounters with the metal monsters of Six Flags, and her experimentation on her kombucha creations signify the life that lies outside the confines of campus. Her encouragement of everyday pursuits outside her classroom enriches pupils into becoming well-rounded teens, who are prepared for anything a class or life throws at them. Her openness when helping students become a shining example of her empathy for the person, and not the academic under scrutiny of the gradebook.

But in my eyes, it isn’t any of these blanket observations that makes Ms. Landis near and dear to my heart. It is how she treats me as an equal, it is that she is my friend. Now, that may seem a tenuous definition to most, considering the subordinate status a child holds toward an adult, a learner toward the learned. But it’s true. She acknowledges that I am not the all-knowing machine I must live up to be, but the confused not-adult struggling to keep afloat some days. She is the receptacle to my insignificant crises, a critic of integrity amidst a swirl of empty compliments, the Fitzgerald to my Hemingway. She is the dispenser of hugs, dispeller of doubt, doter of flamingos, mother of drago— maybe not that one.

Thank you for chasing me down with a flamingo and a hug on the day of the AP test. Thank you for lending me that blanket every day. Thank you for harboring our paper boats in your classroom. Thank you for smiling every single day. Thank you for junior year.

Thank you, Ms. Landis.