Mrs. Ann Garrett Shares Insight to AP Lang Students

AP Lang students observed Mrs. Ann Garrett as a guest speaker in class


Jacque Wilson

During the third quarter, AP Language and Composition students have been studied texts focusing on the subject of gender.   

Dr. Jamey VanZandt had colleague and friend, Mrs. Ann Garrett as a guest speaker to discuss her experiences with gender.  Mrs. Garrett serves as MV librarian as well as a senior lecturer at SIU Carbondale.

VanZandt referred to Mrs. Garrett as, “one of the most instrumental people in [his] journey.”

Students wrote questions to Mrs. Garrett and she prepared answers.

“Why the recent explosion of gender discussions?” one student asked.  

Mrs. Garrett responded by stating, “It has always been there, it’s just now people are brave enough to talk about it.”

Many questions were directed at her life at SIUC regarding her classroom environment.

“My class is filled with kind, respectful, and accepting individuals who create a welcoming environment,” Mrs. Garrett answered.  She shared stories of classmates opening up to each other and having deep conversations.

Mrs. Garrett shared the importance of reading.

“In my 78 years, I have learned that when you read, you walk in other people’s shoes.  It makes judging a lot harder,” she shared.

When asked for advice, Garrett shared, “I have made mistakes, but I always step back and correct myself.  That is what matters, correcting yourself and being respectful.”  

Aside from personal experiences, Mrs. Grrett also shared how gender has affected language. 

“The only languages that don’t change are the ones nobody speaks,” she shared.

Mrs. Garrett highlighted that “they/them” is now accepted in literary works and had evolved with time.

Moving on from gender, Mrs. Garrett also spoke of serious topics such as depression, suicide, mental disorders, and civil rights.

Following her insightful message, students in AP Lang wrote her thank you letters.

“I really enjoyed her speech.  It was a nice change of pace in class and very interesting,” stated AP Language and Composition student, Kadence Chamness, ‘23.

Mrs. Garrett responded with personalized letters following this gesture.