AP English Literature


Online for the 2024-2025 School Year

Teacher: Maya Inspektor

Email: minspektor@gmail.com

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Note: You must fill out an application and be accepted to the class before submitting payment. The 2024-25 application can be found at the following Google Form: https://forms.gle/i7n3npS62QEJ15ju9 

While you are already welcome to fill out the 2024-25 application, Mrs. Inspektor will only start to process applications on February 15, 2024. After February 15th, you should receive a reply from from Mrs. Inspektor within three business days; if you don't, please send her an e-mail at minspektor@gmail.com

Course description: This highly interactive college-level course is designed to prepare students for the AP English Literature and Composition exam in May. It will push students to read imaginative literature (novels, poetry, and plays) closely and deeply. We will explore the way that writers manipulate their readers and seek to recognize the way that historical and social context impacts writing. We will actively engage with literature on every level and tease apart its complexity, considering (for example) diction, style, theme, imagery, symbolism, and tone.

I have selected books that I feel can be appreciated even more upon rereading and that can be used fruitfully in literary argument questions on the AP exam. These range from 16th century to 20th century works and involve some mature situations and themes, although I have tried to avoid works with explicit content or vulgarity. We will also study a range of poetry and short stories, using Perrine's Literature as well as online sources. In addition, students will form independent book clubs to discuss high-quality literature they select in informal discussion groups.

Students should anticipate reading 50-80 pages each week and writing one essay (or the equivalent) weekly, as well as numerous shorter responses. Students will also participate in interactive discussions of their readings throughout the week, composing responses to discussion questions and commenting on their classmates' responses, and they will generally write a short reply to a "Morning Message" each day. Finally, they will engage in targeted test preparation for the AP English Literature and Composition exam. I also want students to come to understand what college literature study might involve, so we'll study "real" literary criticism about the works that we read, entering this way into the broader literary conversation occurring all over the world. 

The writing assignments students will complete during this course vary. They will include informal journal entries, discussion question responses, formal analytic essays, poetry, and even parody. I will also emphasize peer review and the writing process, as students bring their essays through multiple drafts and hone their ability to write organized, creative analysis. During the fall semester, students will write original short stories inspired by stories they studied, and during the spring semester, they will write an entry into the Jane Austen Society of North America Essay Contest (read my students' 2015 winning entries here, the 2017 winning entries here, the 2018 winning entries here, the 2019 winning entries here (first and third place), the 2020 winning entries here (second and third place), the 2021 winning entries here (second place) and the 2022 winning entries here (first and third place) and the 2023 winning entries here (first and second place)) and compose an extended novel comparison paper drawing upon literary criticism and expressing their own analysis. Of course, a major focus of our study involves writing exam-style essays, and I help students develop their own mature, complex, and non-formulaic (but organized) essay style.

While our primary focus will be on the analysis of literature, this course is well suited to students who also love to write creatively. Throughout the year, I will draw connections to creative writing and help students come to understand the process of professional writers, and I'll even ask students to write an original short story and some original works of poetry. 

Ultimately, I hope students leave this course with a zest for uncovering the many layers of meaning in the fiction they read and an appreciation for the music and meaning of poetry. They will gain not only an arsenal of literary terms, but also a sense for the patterns that underlie the books they read. Literature throughout the ages is an interwoven web, and I look forward to exploring this web with my students.

My teaching philosophy is rooted in the idea that classwork should have a purpose, and I am happy to accommodate students whose needs are better served by alterations to the class workload.

I also hope my students do well on the AP exam, and in the past this has certainly been the case-- in most of my past classes, fully 90% of students have received grades of 4 or 5 on the AP exam. 

Who should apply: Students with a love for literature who would like to invest time and energy into pondering the deeper meaning and construction of the texts they read. Students should come in with the ability to write with few grammatical errors, but they do not need to have had extensive prior formal literature study or extensive experience writing formal essays. They should, however, come in with extensive experience as avid readers! I find that a wide range of students do well in my class, but that students who are internally motivated and self-disciplined generally do better. Students who need constant oversight and supervision may be better served by a more conventional class setting.

Note:  I strongly discourage students from taking this class concurrently with another formal English class. This class involves a great deal of reading and writing, and I find that the quality of student work (and the amount that they learn from EITHER class) decreases if students are overloaded. 

Note: this course is open to 11th and 12th graders as well as 10th graders who can present excellent credentials, such as previous AP exam or SAT scores. (I recommend English SAT scores of at least 600 as a prerequisite for the class.) I will only consider AP English Literature applications from 9th grade students after consultation by e-mail to determine whether this course is a good fit.

Required Texts:

  • Summer Reading: How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines, Thomas C. Foster. ISBN: 006000942X
  • Perrine's Literature: Structure, Sound and Sense. Essentially any edition will be fine, but all of the page numbers I supply will be from the 9th edition. I also referred to the 4th and 6th editions in crafting my syllabus. Students using other editions may need to rely on web texts (which I am usually able to provide) for more of the readings. Used editions are usually available quite cheaply! Note: we will start the start the year with an intensive, month-long unit of short stories drawn from Perrine's Literature, so please buy this anthology before the course begins.
  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (any edition; free e-texts are available online) 
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald (any edition)
  • The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams-- No need to purchase! This play should be included in the drama section of Perrine's Literature.
  • A novel by Jane Austen, to be determined-- I'll announce this one after the 2025 JASNA essay contest has been released. 
  • Othello, the Moor of Venice, by William Shakespeare No need to purchase! This play should be included in the drama section of Perrine's Literature.
  • Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad (any edition; free e-texts are available online.)
  • In addition, students will read five other AP-level works of their choice, discussing these works with small groups of classmates. Parents are welcome to excuse students from this aspect of the course if the students conduct enough high-level reading outside the class.

Registration deadline: Applications will be accepted through August 1st or until the class fills up. (Typically my class fills up much sooner, so don't delay applying.) 

Tech needs: Full web and printer access (broadband Internet recommended but not required). Students must be able to view Adobe PDF files. It is useful but not essential for students to own a digital camera or scanner.

This course has no set meeting times! Instead, students will interact asynchronously by reading daily instructional messages and writing extensive responses to each others' work. Students will have assignments due every weekday, though, so the course is ideal for students who have fairly consistent availability throughout the week. We are happy to accommodate students who need to work ahead, students who live in international time zones, or students who face particularly busy times during their school year. 

Course fee: $850 if payment is received before July 1st; $875 after July 1st.

Length of course: Tuesday, September 3, 2024  to Friday, May 9, 2025 (assuming the College Board sticks with the expected exam schedule). 

Breaks: There will be no assignments due on most U.S. National Holidays. In addition, students will have one week off for fall break, one week off for Thanksgiving break, two weeks off for Christmas / New Years, and one week off for spring break.



We firmly believe that the best way to help students improve their writing is by providing thoughtful, personal, and detailed feedback. Thus, we usually spend a half hour or more responding to each student essay and invest heavily in this aspect of the class. We also feel that it's very important for a teacher to get to know the writing style, strengths, and weaknesses of each student. Because of this, Mrs. Inspektor has hired a trusted co-teacher (Ms. Odelia Chan) to write essay feedback for a portion of students in the class. If you are in Ms. Chan's section of the class, she will comment on your essays and monitor your progress. This allows us to accept more students into the class than we could if Mrs. Inspektor were sole teacher. On the 2022 exam, Ms. Chan's students earned an incredible average score of 4.8 / 5 while Mrs. Inspektor's students earned an (also quite impressive) average score of 4.6/5, so you can see that students in Ms. Chan's section are in very good hands.

In all other ways, Mrs. Inspektor is the primarily instructor for all students; she plans the syllabus and writes the daily instructional messages, and she is happy to be available to all students (even those in Ms. Chan's section at any time). All of the students interact with each other in one interactive online classroom.  

We determine admissions to the two sections by a simple procedure. Mrs. Inspektor will handle all admissions, and the first (approximately) 30 students she accepts will be automatically admitted into her section. The next (approximately) 15 students will be in Ms. Chan's section, though they will be moved to Mrs. Inspektor's section in the order in which they paid for the class, should space open up. If you have a strong preference about either section-- for example, you wish to be accepted directly into Ms. Chan's section even if there is room in Mrs. Inspektor's section, or you ONLY wish to be considered for Mrs. Inspektor's section-- please explain this preference in your application. In your acceptance letter, we'll let you know where you stand in terms of admission to one section or the other.




Mrs. Inspektor has been teaching online AP English for almost two decades and is excited to continue. In the 1990s, she was one of the first student participants in the AP Homeschoolers online courses herself and has fond memories of her own online classes! She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004, majoring in English Writing and Psychology. She earned a Masters of Education in Secondary English from Carlow University, researching homeschooling English programs for her master's thesis. She taught at a private school for two years and has taught AP English Language and AP English Literature through AP Homeschoolers since 2007. She also enjoys teaching summer classes on writing college application essays (when she's not running marathons, gardening, or renovating her 600-year-old house). An expat since her early 20s, she lived in Israel for 12 years and since 2019 has lived in the Czech Republic with her husband, daughter, son, and unruly German Shepherd. 

Odelia Chan is the co-teacher for both of Mrs. Inspektor's AP English classes. This is her third year co-teaching AP English Literature and her second year co-teaching AP English Language, though she was teaching assistant for AP English Language while in college! As co-teacher in AP Lit, Ms. Chan was incredibly prompt about returning essay feedback and focused on helping her students succeed. She is also a published novelist, freelance writer, and private tutor. She graduated summa cum laude from Waldorf University, majoring in Communications. She loves guiding students toward becoming excellent writers.

You can contact Ms. Chan directly at teach@odeliachan.com, but all general inquiries should be sent to Maya Inspektor: minspektor@gmail.com. 


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