As the school year came to an end, Ms. Barnett’s newly installed Psychology and Literature class was introduced to published author, Kerry Kletter. The class ended the lesson on Kletter’s first published book, The First Time She Drowned, by having a deep analytical discussion on the book with the author herself.
Kerry Kletter was actually a former student of Ms. Barnett’s. Kletter regarded Ms. Barnett as a very crucial teacher in her life. Kletter said, “… I want you to know that if Lori did not show me how to notice what other authors were doing, I would have never been able to recreate it in my own work. And since that junior English class, I do not watch a film or read a book in quite the same way because of her teaching. I remember her class as if it were yesterday.” The book acknowledgements included Ms. Barnett for believing in Kerry and not letting her drop her junior grade English course. Ms. Barnett’s hard work has not gone unnoticed by her students. Kerry Kletter went on to study literature in college.
Her first book, Kletter’s The First Time She Drowned, follows a teenager’s struggle and battles in her life. The protagonist, Cassie, in the story has a troubling relationship with her mother, and she has psychological troubles that are resolved at the end when she finally accepts hard truths. The class analyzed and discussed her psychological issues and connected them to previous psychological theories studied this year. The class was able to discuss their understanding of the text with the author. Kletter was also able to settle debates around the deeper meaning and offered great insight into the book. Kletter appreciated that the students were able to pick up on the craft and the psychological struggles that the characters suffered through.
Kletter has a strong passion for story and writing. She is a native of Ridgewood, New Jersey. However, Kletter currently lives in Santa Monica, California and is working on completing her second book.
Ms. Barnett hopes that she will be able to continue to gift her students with the opportunity for great and exciting learning chances like this one. Ms. Barnett remarked, “While I loved reconnecting with Kerry Kletter after 30 years, it was more important that my students today had an authentic learning experience.” Ms. Barnett was glad that students were able to gather more information and realize if certain actions by the author were determinant or indeterminant. She hopes that authentic learning experiences such as this one are continued in her classes.
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