Dear Lusher Parents and Students,

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and give you a sense of what you can expect over the course of the next seven months.

My name is Sean Leon. In 2002 I moved to NYC to join the NYC Teaching Fellowship. After teaching four years at a middle school in the Bronx, I was offered and accepted a high school English position at The Beacon School in Manhattan. Over the course of my eleven years at Beacon, I have taught English 9, 10, and 12 (English 10 and 12 for nine years). Interestingly, Beacon allows teachers to design their own senior English electives so I created and taught an Existential Lit course (imagine the good times in that class) and a Poetry Seminar course.

Alas, the end is built into the beginning. Over time, a dizzying homesickness and family duty called me home to Louisiana, to Lusher, to you.

Now, sitting in a Lusher classroom typing this note to you, I realize that the transition for your child may be difficult. Ms. Chellin is an amazing educator who cares deeply for her students. They know this and consequently, have great appreciation for her.

So, I thought I would take some time and words to give you a sense of what to expect this year so that you may rest easy.  My classroom is a place where literature, vocabulary, and grammar/style instruction are seamlessly integrated into the curriculum. It is a place where my students come to understand that great writing must be not only clear and concise, but also purposeful, powerful, and elegant. To this end, writing and its instruction are conscious and deliberate processes rooted in close examination of student writing as well as the writing of the greats whom we read throughout the year. As the year progresses students will develop control/mastery over the content, style and mechanics of their essays. They will be expected to pay as much attention to the nuances of writing (i.e. diction, syntax) as the argument. Don’t fret; I will teach you to that end! [Read more…]

Due 11/7: The Bell Jar Essay

We are starting 1984 and our discussion of Politics and the English Language  (Finish this essay by Tuesday. Be sure you are ready to discuss it in full.) in the new week. If you are buying your own copy, please have it with you starting on Tuesday.

1. The Bell Jar Essay–Completed First drafts are due on Monday. While you are expected to have an introduction and conclusion, I want you to focus most of your thought on development of the argument across the body of the essay. Remember, this essay should be 3-4 pages.

General Formatting:

  • Double-spaced; size 12 font; Times New Roman or similar
  • 1 inch margins on both left and right sides. Justify margin. Indentations– .5” or 1 tab space.
  • All pages beyond the first page should be numbered.  Page numbers should be placed at the bottom right of each page.
  • No Cover Page.  Include name, class, and date (Single space the heading)
  • Be sure TITLE reflects the theme of the essay (for instance, 1984: Hierarchical Hegemony)
  • Include Title, Author, and General Theme of work in first paragraph of essay…For Example—Jean Paul Sartre’s Nausea
  • Follow MLA guidelines

Order of Arrangement:

  • Final Draft on top. Staple.
  • 1st Draft—with significant corrections made + name and signature of reader

Avoid the Following:

  • Avoid Pronouns: I, it, you, me, we, us
  • Avoid Troublesome language. Do your best to avoid the following words: it, these, this, those, kind of, almost, seems, maybe, like, then, later, eventually, basically, so, many, a lot, things, due to the fact (or any variations of the fact that), in reality, very, really, forms of the verb “to be”
  • In the intro, nix all book-review commentary—i.e. “is fascinating, interesting…”
  • Avoid meaningless sentences–i.e. “Authors rely heavily on symbolism.”
  • Contractions
  • While I am not suggesting that you avoid all modifiers, you certainly should be conscious of how you are using them. Yet, definitely avoid the likes of really, basically, very, excellent, terrible, etc.
  • Avoid misspelling proper nouns!


  • When writing about literature, write in the present tense.
  • Active voice should be your default voice and only use passive when you are CHOOSING to use passive voice.
  • Get comfortable writing in complex and compound sentences.
  • Introductions and conclusions are factored into the grading of this essay.
  • Read your essay aloud and you will hear many diction and syntax issues.

Keys to Good Writing:

  • Cohesion—Every sentence fits together; paragraphs flow smoothly.  Ensure that the entire discussion comes together as one unified discussion of your text and its context.
  • Concision—Less is more.  Use fewer words to explain yourself.  Begin fusing sentences by merging ideas into tightly knit phrases.
  • Precision—Accuracy.  Use words that accurately capture what you mean.  Don’t settle for words or expressions that come close.
  • Coherence—Does your essay make sense? Are your ideas organized in a logical sequence? Do you prove your thesis? Do the parts contain the essence of the whole?

HW12 due 10/20 (10/21 for 12G): Nausea

1. Nausea–Read and annotate up to p. 40

2. Class Forum


Hello all! Since the end of H Band yesterday, I have not been able to find my keys! My apt keys and my school keys are on this key chain distinguished only by a purple fabric. Please be on the lookout for my keys! Email me if you know anything. Thank you!

E-Media Fast!

The fast begins at 5:00 pm this evening and ends at 7:00 am Monday morning! Live a little differently this weekend! Before you begin, visit the UNICEF Tap Project and let’s make this mean even more!