Hidden Magic is a student-driven feature that will highlight a teacher or staff member in BHS who we feel deserves recognition for what makes that person special. In each issue, we will recognize a different teacher or staff member and show our Bear Facts readers why these individuals are the hidden magic at BHS.
Ms. Leslie Fine
Poetry. A word that consumes all of us at some point in our education. Whether you love it or hate it, write good poems or not-so-good poems, we’ve all had a run at it. But, if you’re lucky enough to be in Mrs. Fine’s AP Literature class, you know just how entertaining poetry can be.
From the very first period of senior year, we were excited and engaged by Mrs. Fine’s teaching. Her warm attitude embraced us and made for the best possible learning environment. From the stellar books we read to the laid-back and thought-provoking activities we engaged in on Poetry Fridays, AP Lit with Mrs. Fine was the best way to start the day.
Not only did Mrs. Fine make analysis essays and Shakespeare fun, she also prepared us for a difficult AP exam that tested our newly developed skills. She encouraged us to find our love for reading and writing and hone our skills to make us better at both. We had class discussions about articles we read every quarter that allowed us to express any ideas we had. The discussions were led by the students, teaching us valuable communication skills and giving us the opportunity to look into one another’s minds in an intellectual way. Each discussion allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the text, each other, and the world around us. Xan Thompson comments on this quarterly discourse, “I loved being able to talk about what I read with my classmates. Mrs. Fine made everyone feel heard and we got to use each other as learning tools. I love that idea.”
The books we read ranged from wartime memoirs to Victorian literature, and we had the opportunity to compare books of such different material to each other and appreciate the big themes that span across all writing. We were all riveted by how much we could learn from a short drama written hundreds of years ago. Hamlet was a relatable guy!
Mrs. Fine’s ability to adapt to distance learning is another testament to the kind of educator she is: an excellent one. Even with all the difficulties of 2020, Mrs. Fine still found a way to make sure we were all prepared for the AP exam and that we would experience no surprises. “The daily assignments she posted were really helpful for test prep, but they weren’t really hard or anything. They took only a little bit of time and the payoff was really huge,” says Sean Ledley.
All AP Lit mornings involved coffee and exploring our greatest curiosities. The teen angst and sleepy eyes didn’t follow us into room 211. Mrs. Fine’s classroom was filled with life’s questions and intriguing novels to answer them. Anyone who has had Leslie Fine as a teacher can agree that after her class, poetry is a lot less daunting.