Matthew Hanley

I tutored several students who had Milpitas High School Honors English teacher Matthew Hanley; this page is a resource for future students to get an idea of just how difficult this teacher is and what exactly he requires in order to really get an A.

His grading scale is lopsided and it is, in fact, very easy for anyone with decent writing skills to get a B on his essay assignments. Getting an A, on the other hand, requires you to fit into a very specific and narrow stylistic expression as a writer. He has a very particular picture of what exactly an A paper looks like.

From my limited perspective as a private tutor I can say that the picture was of a very straightforward, history like, paper -- heavy on factual summarization and supported claims. From an intuitive perspective Mr. Hanley has quite an amount of unconscious energy in his head and it was very interesting to see his responses to the lines I had crafted for students. They almost always consisted of "awkward" or "???" Much to my dismay, it turned out that he in fact wants his students to write at a high school level -- not at a college level. Sentences that seemed perfectly straightforward to me were labeled as "awkward" or "unusual." So keep it relatively simple.

I am not making a wildly unsupported, or vindictive, claim here; it is very evident when you read his own actual class example of an A paper. Please note page 4 is missing. However, there is more than enough in that document for you to get an idea of what he wants. I am providing it here as this document is somewhat of a "rarity," which apparently students are only allowed to see for a few days.

I have also included another example of a paper that received an A from Mr. Hanley for your review. Pay attention to the similarity in style between the two papers. The sense I get personally is that he wants you to write something almost like a history paper, rather than a traditional academic response to literature.

Also please remember that his degree is in Philosophy, not English. So his expectations are quite different from traditional English teachers.