Recommendations

A sampling of recommendations I’ve received from previous students from both my high school and college courses:

The Most Inclusive and Educational Class I have ever taken, Justin H., student

Mrs. Hawkins’ 2013-2014 AP United States History class was the first AP class I have ever taken.  As such, I went in with quite some apprehensions: would it be too hard?  Would I learn enough to adequately prepare for the AP exam? Was I capable of completing college-level work in addition to all my other subjects?  Nonetheless, I decided to apply and join the class. I have never regretted it since.

First off, it was A LOT of work.  No point in trying to sidestep that.  However, in the context of preparing for the APUSH exam, every single ounce of stress ended up being beneficial in the end.  When I first received my textbook, I was seriously freaked out by its size (I didn’t think I would have to memorize the dictionary!!), but when I actually started reading it, I was hit by a realization.  For the first time in my life, I was enjoying school! Each chapter was not filled with hundreds of names and dates that I was expected to memorize (like my past history textbooks), but it told a story.  A very important story at that! The weekly chapters were long, but it never felt like a chore to read them.  Neither did the essays or monthly projects.  While I spent on average about 2 or 3 hours a day on the subject (I preferred not to work on the weekends), honestly, it was the REST of the schoolday that I dreaded.

The course consists of lots of reading, usually an essay a week, and various presentations and documents that only serve to increase one’s understanding of the time period covered in that month.  However, what I enjoyed the most–and what I am forever grateful to Mrs. Hawkins for–was the weekly discussions among classmates about a particular subject.  Learning to effectively communicate with people my age proved invaluable to my speech and debate career as well.  Essentially, all of the work that I did for this class helped me not only to prepare for the exam (which I’ll get to next), but it served to allow me to communicate with others more effectively and defend my beliefs using facts and past events, which I believe has proved truly invaluable.

The AP Exam was tough, not going to lie, but had I not been exposed to the level of in-depth work that Mrs. Hawkins required, I would have simply died on that exam.  I felt confident answering every single question, and although I don’t have my score back yet, I know from past experience that as soon as doubt enters your mind on a test, it is hard to complete it.  That was not the case here.  Mrs. Hawkins’ class completely prepared me to handle the rigors of intensive studying and impromptu essays throughout the year, and even if I didn’t get a 5 on the exam, without this class, I probably would have gotten a 1.

In conclusion, Mrs. Hawkins’ class was the best class I have ever taken.  I learned more about our nations’ history than in all my past year’s combined.  I learned to write informative essays about all manners of things such as civil rights, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and so on.  In addition, I learned that hard work pays off, and believe me this class is a lot of work, but as long as you give 100%, it will be the most rewarding class you will ever take.  Mrs. Hawkins was a very understanding–and INCREDIBLY nice–teacher, which only helped make the class that much better.  Do not hesitate to apply for her class in upcoming years, it will be worth every penny and every second on that long APUSH exam.

 

U.S. History plus so much more! Kim M, parent

 

We were looking for a class that would prepare our daughter for the AP US History exam as well as prepare her for what college classes would be like.  This class was a perfect fit for us.

Mrs. Hawkins’ approach to US History and the class requirements are very similar to what a student might expect in a college classroom setting.  Mrs. Hawkins’ lectures are informative and concise.  They are not simply a recitation of the facts or a spoon feeding material on the test.  She encourages students to think beyond the simple timelines of history.  Students are challenged to consider why events occurred, how social, politic, and cultural events weave together and effect decisions and movements.  Mrs. Hawkins was very present and approachable throughout this class.  She responded quickly and helped guide students when they had questions. Her class requirements are very clear and her grading was consistent and fair.  In the end, our daughter walked into the AP exam confident in her knowledge and ability to take the test.

This course had other added benefits beyond simply preparing my daughter for the AP exam.

Suddenly my daughter’s view of current events changed dramatically.  By Christmas she began reading the newspaper at breakfast every morning and discussing world events with us.  She wanted to understand why conflicts occurred and what situations led to local and national laws being passed.  Through the group discussions she was challenged to debate issues with students from around the globe with varying belief systems and views.  This taught her to be open minded about others views and to carefully communicate her own views in a way that was respectful.

We found through this class our daughter improved her planning and organizational skills.  She couldn’t just do the assignment the night before the due date or cram for the exam and get the grade she wanted.   This class requires daily practice and study.  This is not your average high school course, in terms of workload.  She would spend an average of 12-15 hours of work on this class per week.

Lastly, this class taught her how to write a college level essay.  Mrs. Hawkins spent the entire last unit of the class coaching the students on how to write an essay.  After this unit my daughter took the SAT and ACT plus writing exams with confidence and received very high marks.  She attributes this to the preparation Mrs. Hawkins gave in her class.  She is now confident in writing college entrance essays.

If we had to do it over again we would enroll in this class.  The benefits she received extend far beyond simply US History.

Understanding the Narrative of American History, Morgan D., student

I. loved. this. class.

I have loved History for as long as I could remember, however, I have a strong distaste for the Ancient and Medieval eras. Therefore, I opted for US History instead of World, and I am SO thankful that I did. I am also so thankful that God directed me to Mrs. Hawkins. She was an absolutely amazing teacher and somehow she was able to make me laugh while handing me the long list full of the Unit’s assignments. She understands us High Schoolers and how we think, she is prompt to respond to questions, and she is eager to help whenever an SOS is thrown her way.

I would highly recommend this class to someone and as a matter of fact I already have!! While this class is not for the faint of heart, anyone who is willing to work hard is sure to exceed. There is so much room for extra credit learning and “fun” assignments. You do have to eat the dreaded broccoli (in this case, CTAP assignments), but the dessert (the fun unit projects like movie reviews, evaluations, and documentary assignments) were always there too. The work load was heavy, but I did not find it unreasonable. The AP prep unit (boot camp) was also very helpful! I would highly suggest that all students take advantage of the extra credit work as it helped me feel so much more prepared for the exam.

Another thing to note is the great deal of writing required. In fact, there was more writing in APUSH than English Lang. and Comp., so being at least semi-confident in writing is a great thing. However, either way this course will help stimulate growth in that area.

My father is in the military so my family and I are stationed overseas in the Former Soviet Union. This was actually great in many ways (like living in a live museum), but there were also some hard things about it. The time zone was definitely one of them, but Mrs. Hawkins was understanding. So, military kids in the US and overseas who can’t seem to stay put very long, this course could definitely work for you! The same applies for other foreign students wishing to take AP exams. You may have to fly to another country to take the test (umm, yes I did have to do that…), but the knowledge and (Lord willing) the college credit obtained along the way are well worth it!

Out of the three exams that I took, I felt the most confident about the APUSH. In fact, the MC section seemed even easier than the ones we practiced on!  Furthermore, the class taught me great study habits and tips that will be priceless for my college years.

Thank you Mrs. Hawkins for everything!!!! I wish I could stay in school and take another course of yours!

 

Amazing Class– You Will Not Regret It!!! Madeleine D., student

Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam? Absolutely. I walked into that testing room in May feeling like I had done everything I could to prepare for the exam. I felt confident that my score was going to reflect all of the hard work I did over the year, and on the actual exam there were only a few questions that I even had to stop and think about. The essays, which were the most intimidating part of the APUSH exam, came naturally after all of the hours of practice we put in throughout the year.

How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course? It totally depended on the time of week. The course was organized into a 4-week cycle, with the tests at the end of the 4th week, so I generally spent a lot more time on APUSH at the end of the month as opposed to the beginning, as I had to study for the test. However, in general, I would say I spent 10-12 hours a week working on required materials and another couple of hours on extra credit. This is definitely not the class to take if you are not confident in your ability to stay on top of assignments; if you get behind in this class, it will be hard to catch up due to the sheer workload.

Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable? I thought that each assignment had a clear purpose in terms of either preparing us for the exam in May, or expanding our general understanding of history and the historical process, so to speak. I thought Mrs. Hawkins’ Unit Projects were really interesting and fun (for example, we got to make our own mini-lectures and review historical movies) and they definitely increased the depth of my knowledge in specific areas. I also very much enjoyed her audiovisual lectures; they were accessible and made it easy to take great notes!

Did the course enhance your interest in the subject? Without a doubt. I went into this without any background in history, hoping I didn’t get left behind and swamped in new information. While the latter sometimes felt true, I came out of this class with a new appreciation for American history and politics, and taking this class even inspired me to sign up for AP Euro next year!

Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable? Yes. The class discussion boards were always full of fascinating discussions, debates, and disagreements. It was incredibly cool to interact with all sorts of different people from around the country and read their points of view on all types of historical and political questions. I also participated in a separate video “study group” with two other classmates, and while these meetings were admittedly 75% social, we did discuss assignments, approaches to studying, and the course in general in a way that I felt to be very valuable.

What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)? I would ABSOLUTELY recommend this course!!! This class is very challenging, however, and I think you do need certain qualities to succeed. It really helps to be a quick reader with good comprehension (think 1000-page textbook in 7-8 months). Writing skills are a definite prerequisite, although you don’t need to be a master of grammar or anything like that. You just need to be able to efficiently express your ideas in a written format. You also need to be willing to work very hard to understand concepts, learn methods, and memorize information as it is thrown at you. I would really recommend learning to take notes in a way that helps you synthesize massive quantities of information before you take this class, because this class places great emphasis on learning content. If you have a decent grasp of these three skills–reading, writing, and studying–you will do well in this class, as long as you budget your time right and apply yourself. I cannot recommend this class (and this teacher!) highly enough. Mrs. Hawkins is extremely knowledgeable about the exam, and she will guide you both to a great score on the test and to a greater love for the history of our country! 🙂

HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!! Heather H., parent

We highly recommend Mrs. Hawkins for the AP U.S. History class.  As one can glean from her bio, she majored in history, teaches at the college level, and is actually one of the essay/dbq scorers for the AP exam.  She clearly knows her stuff when it comes to history!  AP US History is a challenging course that demands much of the students, which all pays off in the end.  Our twin daughters who took this course have most certainly grown in their understanding and appreciation of US History in terms of knowing “the facts” and understanding how to analyze and, like detectives, make sense of history through primary documents.

If you ever have a question or concern, just email Mrs. Hawkins.  She has always been great about responding fairly quickly, and truly takes the time to respond to questions or concerns in full.  She has never been dismissive or short in her ways of communicating.  This is so important with an on-line class where it can be difficult to feel a sense of connection with the teacher.

Mrs. Hawkins thoroughly prepared our girls for the AP exam.  While throughout the year they felt rather challenged and worried about whether or not they would be able to handle the AP test, when the day finally arrived they walked in feeling confident and came out feeling certain they got at least a 4 and possibly a 5 on the exam!  I can attest to Mrs. Hawkins being an excellent, though demanding, teacher for APUSH.  In this class, the harder you work, the more prepared you will be for the exam.  I highly recommend this class for those who are willing to put in the time (lots and lots of reading, writing, lecture watching, etc.) and effort to truly take advantage of all her course has to offer.

 

Recommendation – Spencer J., student

I had Mrs. Hawkins for an online AP US History class. I hoped to learn a lot about the history of America, and Mrs. Hawkins did not disappoint. I felt completely confident when I went to take the AP exam, thanks to her instruction. The class was a lot of work, more than I ever thought that I could do. I gained new confidence with each assignment I completed and, by the end, the assignments that were so daunting in the beginning became effortless. While I could tell that others taking the AP test around me were frightened by the essay section, I actually looked forward to it. Mrs. Hawkins assignments, and excellent feedback, allowed me to be unperturbed by a task that most students equated with torture. Mrs. Hawkins didn’t just prepare her students for the AP test; she also refined student’s skills in areas other than history. I could feel that my writing improved over the duration of the course, and I could complete assignments from other classes much more easily and successfully. Mrs. Hawkins is very knowledgeable about history, and can effectively teach the material to students in a way that builds their skills, knowledge, and confidence. In my opinion, that is what makes a great teacher. I highly recommend both Mrs. Hawkins and her AP US History course.

 

Recommendation – Katie S., student

Mrs. Hawkins’s APUSH was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken. It was very challenging and time-consuming, but also very interesting. Although the textbook wasn’t really my favorite, it was supplemented with many enjoyable activities, where we might learn about an interesting viewpoint on a particular event or analyze historical documents to come to our own conclusions about the events. I also really enjoyed the projects we had each unit, which aimed at improving both our skills and our knowledge. All in all, I felt that everything we did increased my historical knowledge, and helped me prepare for the AP exam. Although I was very nervous about the exam, and kept second-guessing my abilities to do well on the test, I was very pleasantly surprised when I found out that everything we had done in class filled me with the knowledge and skills I needed. I would highly recommend this class to anyone with a love for history and a motivation to spend lots of time on homework (for me, 10+ hours a week).

 

Recommendation – Thomas H., student

Mrs. Hawkins’ 2011-2012 APUSH class was excellent.  It involved plenty of hard work (between 10 and 15 hours/week for me), but all the reading and writing I did really helped me feel confident on exams, including the AP U.S. History Exam.  There was an interesting variety of assignments, which helped me see history from a number of different perspectives; the assignments also greatly improved my writing skills. But it wasn’t just the assignments that made the course enjoyable; Mrs. Hawkins’ knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject, along with her teaching style, made learning history fun.  Whenever I had questions or technical difficulties, Mrs. Hawkins was prompt and helpful in delivering feedback.  I felt that Mrs. Hawkins taught beyond what the AP Exam required; while I was thoroughly prepared for the exam, the unit projects and other assignments taught me to think like a historian and love the subject.  You don’t need to be extensively knowledgeable about U.S. History beforehand to succeed in this class, but you need to be prepared to read a lot, write a lot, and keep in regular contact with the class.  I would definitely recommend this excellent course.

 

Recommendation – Nicholas S., student

I just wanted to let you know about the wonderful experiences I have been having in Mrs. Hawkins’ World History/Western Civilization 1 course.  Each week, Mrs. Hawkins comes into class with an interesting lecture, colorful power-point slide, and a positive attitude towards learning.   I never once became bored during one of her live classes!  Though the course work was tough at times, I truly believe I benefitted from it.  All of the assignments that I completed, whether they were reading primary sources, watching a history related video, or doing our weekly reading, sparked a love of history within me.  Her feedback, too, has assisted me greatly throughout all my assignments.  Coming into this class, I had a lot of history-related questions.  Mrs. Hawkins was able to thoroughly answer each and every one, leaving me confident and sure about the answer.  She has been one of the best teachers I have ever had, and I hope to take several history classes from her in the future.  I highly recommend Mrs. Hawkins and her World History/Western Civilization 1 course!

 

Recommendation – Angel B., student

Mrs. Hawkins is a wonderful teacher with an infectious enthusiasm for the subject. I did not enjoy history prior to taking this class and I look forward to taking American History with her.   The supplemental information she provides for the world history class is interesting, funny and not tedious to plow through. She varies the structure of the class so that it is not just lecture only. Although the class presents a lot of material, Mrs. Hawkins covers the content thoroughly.  She makes herself readily available if I or my mom have any questions. I am always aware of how I am performing in this class as my grades are available on the assignment portion of the system. I would highly recommend her classes.

 

Recommendation – Shannon R., parent

My daughter came into this world loving history. However, I could not share this passion with her having been scarred from my boring high school classes forcing rote memorization of dry facts and dates that had not meaning to my life at the time. When it came time for my daughter to further her history studies we thought Mrs. Hawkins class would be perfect. We have not been disappointed. My daughter comes away each week with interesting history to share with our family. She loves the interaction of the live classes and having an expert to talk to about history. In addition, she loves interacting with other students who seem to enjoy the subject as much as she does. Western Civilization I has been a challenging class for my daughter who is in the 8th grade. She works hard to keep up with the amount of work and reading, but has been very successful under Mrs. Hawkins direction. We find Mrs. Hawkins to be fare and accessible anytime we need her with problems or questions. Mrs. Hawkins sense of humor paired with her passion for history makes the class perfect for our needs. We highly recommend Western Civilization I to others. My daughter is looking forward to taking US History and Western Civilization II with Mrs. Hawkins in the future. Thank you, Mrs. Hawkins, for all the thought and care you put into your courses and the passion you share with your students.

 

Comments from former college students:

Note from me – I will tell you up front that I do receive occasional negative comments from students, but these are almost always involve complaints about too much work.  To be honest with you, if I don’t receive the occasional complaint about the workload, I reevaluate the course!

 

Unsolicited Email Message, Tracy R.

Professor Hawkins,

I think you are one history professor I could sit and learn from forever – I appreciate the way you say things, your heart, your passion, your knowledge, and I am so much the better for it after your class. Eight weeks ago, I would never have imagined saying that a history course could be my favorite course of all time, but now, I can say it without hesitation. I LEARNED a great deal under your tutelage and it has indeed caused me to view life – news – society – myself – in a different way, and for that alone, I am extremely grateful…

 

Unsolicited Email Message, Kevin R.

Professor,

I am not sure if you did this on purpose but I wanted to let you know that I really appreciate the way that you graded my first paper. Most professors spend a considerable amount of time letting me know what I did wrong on the paper and include a quick comment on what I did right and how I should be thankful that I did not fail.

You on the other hand let me know what I did wrong in very specific areas, and then you spent just as much time on what I did right. You have no idea how truly helpful that is. I feel very encouraged and excited about writing my next paper, because I know that you are going to help “teach” me how to become a better student of history.

I thank you and wanted to let you know that I appreciate your grading style.

God bless,

 

Unsolicited Email Message, Cynthia M.

Professor,

I enjoyed your class very much. The lectures you added were very informative and helped me to transition to online classes. I am so happy you were my first online teacher because you were proficient and engaging. You convey your love for the topic through all your extra work which helps to draw the student in to the class…Thank you.

 

Unsolicited Email Message, Heather L.

Professor,

I want to thank you for an enjoyable semester.  Your first lecture had me doubtful on how you could make learning the history fun.  You more than succeeded!  I found myself looking forward to your lectures and was disappointed in the weeks when one was not provided.  You have a true gift at keeping it interesting and people interested.  I do hope that our paths cross again.  Thank you again.

 

Unsolicited Email Message, Ruby S.

Professor Hawkins,

I am on vacation in San Antonio, TX, full of history. We have been able to see some of the missions with the artwork. I have taken a special interest in them and appreciated them in a different way. Also, we were able to see a Shakespeare in the Park production of Romeo and Juliet. It was very hot,but very worth while. Just wanted you to know that your class has really made a difference in my life and my appreciation of the arts and history.

Thank you,

 

Response to an email I sent this student about his online comments, Tim S.

Professor Hawkins,

Thank you.  I did put some thought into my response, and after dinner tonight with my wife have more to say!  We’ll see how the class takes my ideas!  This has been quite a class, honestly I was dreading it!  And you’ve made history real!

Thanks,

 

Unsolicited Email Message, Cliffton C.

Hi Professor Hawkins,

I wanted to take a moment and let you know that the experience I have had in week 1 of this class is surprisingly refreshing. I absolutely love your style of how learning should be. I get so frustrated listening to all the cookie-cutter monotonous audio lecture files that could have easily been recreated with a computer generated voice. There’s no passion or conviction in those lectures, and in the end I forget them as soon as I hear them. When I listen to your custom lecture audio files, I can hear how much you love it. It makes me want to know what you are talking about. For a moment, I almost thought I was actually in a classroom with you in front of me. You are only the second Professor that I have been fortunate enough to come across in the past 2 years that honestly love what your class is about, and has taken the time to create a learning experience that will most likely enrich your students,not just for the class, but for a lifetime. So, for what I have experienced so far in Week 1, and what I am about to experience in the following 10 weeks, I thank you. I really do. And I hope I am fortunate enough to have you as a Professor in my future online classes.

Best regards,

 

University Solicited Comments From Students

Do you have any additional comments regarding the instructor?

  • Professor Hawkins was an outstanding professor and made the class worth taking. I learned a lot and appreciate all of her efforts.
  • It was a joy, honor, and privilege to have Professor Hawkins as my instructor. She is one the best instructors I have ever had. She is knowledgeable and provides clear directions on what is expected each week. Her passion for her work shines through and she presents the information in a way that is lively and engaging. This is an important quality when teaching a class others may find dull. I love classical music and enjoyed this class, thanks in large part to Prof. Hawkins.
  • This professor has a real love of this subject which she conveys effectively to her students.

Do you have any additional comments regarding the course?

  • I enjoyed this class.
  • I would definitely recommend this instructor to my fellow students.

 

Do you have any additional comments regarding the instructor?

  • She is very enthusiastic about the subject. She is so passionate about the subject that is sure to have a lot of converts just based on her love alone for the subject matter. She is very respectful and understanding. I‘ve never spoken to her by telephone, only contact was through email. Just from listening to her voice on some of the lectures lets me know that she is someone whom everybody would like her. I enjoyed being a part of her class.
  • There should be other instructors of this caliber on your staff, instead of some of the shrewd, and unwilling people that the University do employ.
  • She is a lot of fun to listen to for the lectures. She seems very enthusiastic about this subject and it become contagious.

 

Do you have any additional comments regarding the course?

  • Even though I’ve never been crazy about literature, the art and music part of the course was very interesting.

Do you have any additional comments regarding the instructor?

  • Great experience for my first class on- line.
  • Keep up the great work
  • Our teach [sic] was very passionate about the subject material and she had a desire to really get us engaged with the arts. That means a lot in the world today.
  • Professor Hawkins has made history tolerable. She should teach more. If we all had history professors like her perhaps there would be a greater love of history
  • She was a great instructor. She knew the material very well and was available anytime for assistance.
  • The instructor is a brilliant and persuasive writer in her own right. It’s certainly not her fault that I am an Art, Music, and Literature dunce. This is one course where I would most appreciate a *normal* classroom setting as I rarely meet people of her intelligence level.

Do you have any additional comments regarding the course?

  • Great book, a good synopsis.
  • While I understand the *breadth* requirements, this is one sector where I don’t care to be *broadened*. Because I don’t *feel* the emotion ascribed to an artist while I view/listen to the work indicated, it is difficult not to dismiss the entire concept as hogwash. However, Ms Hawkins probably has a better chance of *selling* this Eskimo a refrigerator than most others. I go now to attempt what, for me, is the impossible. listening classical music and critically viewing paintings in a (probably) vain exercise in deriving insight and understanding of the artists.

 

Do you have any additional comments regarding the instructor?

  • This instructor is very passionate about what she is teaching and has given all of us a opportunity to look at art in a different light.

 

  • Professor Hawkins has shown her love for this subject and for teaching by the way she presented the course it was more of a journey than just taking a class. I do appreciate the amount of time and effort she has spent preparing for this course her personal touch is definitely obvious. Her teaching style should serve as a model for other instructors.

 

  • Thank you for your understanding and consideration

 

  • This Course and Professor has enriched my cultural experience about history and has created a quest for further knowledge in this area.

 

  • Professor Hawkins is an awesome instructor. Although this was an online course it was presented and taught extremely well. This has been the most challenging and rewarding class I have taken up to this point. I feel that I have learned so much more about history and I am excited to take what I have learned and apply it in the future whether visiting a museum and looking at art and sculptures or reading more history.

 

Do you have any additional comments regarding the course?

  • I have to say bravo for coming up with the final paper it is new but it is refreshing.