Mrs. Patty Shockley
Of all characteristics that compose the spirit of a wonderful educator, there are three things, to me, that define it. To be phenomenal, a teacher must demonstrate competence, understanding the extent and depth of their field; dynamism, having a hard-working, adaptive attitude; and empathy, allowing them to further view education from our shoes—those of students. In my time at FHC, through four cycles of new educators, I have only seen a couple who exhibit all three major characteristics in outstanding fashion, and one of the foremost is Mrs. Patricia Shockley – teacher of AP Lit, as well as legend through and through.
Shockley’s devotion to her field, the world of literature and writing, is wonderful. It is rare to meet someone willing to devote between 40 and 60 focused minutes on a single student essay, and the feedback she provides us ranges on all levels of complexity; she always brings worthy advice, whether one is struggling with the basics, or pushing into mastery. My ability to write has grown so much since I entered her class, pushing me to a level of university writing that I otherwise would not have been able to muster, driving me to communicate more concisely, more eloquently, more stylistically – something I will apply in every aspect of my life no matter where my future takes me. One cannot write well without also reading well, however, and Shockley does so much to open the vast, multitudinous expanse of literary artform for us. While we flounder, hitting complicated, flowery works for the first time in our lives, she has the deep understanding, at all levels, to guide us in eventually understanding with her. Being able to see works like the Bard’s Macbeth for how impactful and beautiful they truly are is a wonderful thing. Every work of literature speaks volumes about humanity; Shockley helps us grasp it.
Moreover, though, there is not a single student who does not matter to Shockley. Her compassion, empathy, and drive to impart to us her wisdom is evident in everything she does – rearranging deadlines after reading the vibe of classes, changing lesson plans to best suit circumstances, always trying, striving, to be the kind of person we can talk to openly. Even after many years of teaching, her energy and wit, for us, is extraordinary. I take so much pride not only in being a student of hers, but, in that inexplicable bond that forms between scholarly minds, a friend. To have a class both laid-back and rigorous, whimsical and analytic, humorous and serious, is one of the most unique and profound experiences a high school student can have, and through Shockley, it is something my peers and I got the chance to partake in. Legend.