Monday, September 5, 2016

Local Educator and Alumna Remembers John Stratton

By Aaryn (Faith) Wynn, class of 2003

I came to AU as an accounting major my freshman year, in 1998; little did I know how completely illogical that was for me. I had Dr. Stratton for my freshman English course, and he recognized my love for literature and writing. After much discussion with him and my adviser, I changed my major to Integrated Language Arts Education 7-12 that next semester. I took several additional courses taught by him, and not only absorbed the literature and crafted my writing, but also how to be an effective teacher. This is my fourteenth year in the profession, and I know I'm doing what I was intended to do.

I still use several of the selections he used and his methods of teaching in my own classroom, today. I have a packet of selections that he entitled "Poetic Prose", and use this as the introduction to my poetry unit in my Junior English classes at Crestview High school. He knew how to lessen the anxiety students feel about analyzing poetry and to foster interest in poems. When discussing essay writing, I often quote him, saying, "If it's only clear and concise, it's boring. Take risks. But don't make it muddy for the sake of being muddy, either; make it meaningful." I wrote that in my notes in one of his classes, and I've never forgotten it.

He was always jovial (I remember us laughing at/with him for wearing socks with his sandals) and kind, yet honest and critical when necessary. That said, he was willing to take time with anyone who needed help.

He is a legend.