Dear Professor Steven Alvarez,
Thank you for an enriching and challenging semester. Although I am an English major, I have not had much exposure to Latino literature before this and I am glad that we were able to focus on so many different authors from different Latin American countries. In particular I really enjoyed the discussions on issues facing immigrants and the struggles of living in America as an immigrant or as children on immigrants–as I am one myself. I enjoyed many of the pieces we concentrated on during this semester (particularly Anzaldua and the film Immersion). I really enjoyed the fiction and poetry pieces because it allowed me to connect with the writers in a personal way and I could see my own experiences mirroring theirs to a degree.
I was also able to learn a lot in terms of my writing and I did see a significant improvement as the semester continued–you were right, the more we practice the better our skills become! Although I was familiar with the MLA style and with analyzing and interpreting literature in my other English classes, I really found the PIE paragraph techniques, the “is” verbs exercises, and your tips for MLA citations very useful. The PIE paragraph method seemed to put analyzing literature in a more tangible light (because now I was able to see the general proportion of introduction:quote:interpretation in an essay). I found myself using the guidelines in this method in my other English classes and it greatly improved my papers. The “is” verbs exercise allowed me to make my writing more concise and eloquent (but it was definitely more time consuming and difficult at first). Another great writing tip that I took away from our course was how to write titles. Titles used to be one of the most difficult things for me to create for my papers and I really appreciated how you were able to break down the “formula” and de-mystify what goes into a good academic title.
I also enjoyed being able to review my own and my classmates’ blogs during class time because of the feedback we all received and were able to give out. This made the class more interactive and allowed us to get to know one another better (or at least their writing). The only thing that I would suggest in terms of changing the class would be to reduce the blog posts to 30-35, or perhaps give more frequent deadlines instead with less posts due at each (i.e. 5 posts due every two weeks)–but this is only a minor suggestion.
I really enjoyed the class and have a lot to take away both as a writer and as a student of literature. Thank you Professor and best of luck!
All the very best,