Yesterday I received my final analysis back from my English T.A. and for some strange reason I went back to my room without even looking at it, and then forgot it existed until this morning before I went to write a test for another class. I picked it up and said, “I’m not going to look just yet…I’ll wait till after class so that this doesn’t mess up my mojo.”
When I returned with breakfast, my bag and cellphone in hand I remembered that I wanted to see what I got on my analysis. I put everything down, finished texting back my dad (we talk everyday), and searched for my analysis, which I placed on my tiny bookshelf.
I looked at each page. There were no comments, simply pink checkmarks every couple of lines. I wasn’t sure if I should feel excited, or nervous. I started to briefly read over what it was I had written, but it made me feel uneasy.
Finally I reached the last page. Following a series of check marks was a pink 80. I was beaming. I texted my dad to tell him the news. I shared it with those I loved. I was proud. I am proud.
For years, I had struggled with writing more academic pieces, such as essays (especially the dreadful five paragraph ones). In the 11th grade I decided that I was going to get better at this for of writing. I no longer wanted to get between 65% and 70% on my English assignments. I wanted to get 80% and above. By grade 12 I was getting 84% on some of my assignments and I started of my Creative Writing course with 96%. I felt amazing. I’d reached my goal. Suddenly before second semester, my parents and school counsellor recommended that I retake the grade 12 English that I had done in summer school (I liked to take a course ahead of time in order to not end up with English, Math and Science all at once…it always happened to me in grades 9 and 10). in order to be more competitive for university. I was reluctant but I did.
My teacher was great, he ran our schools writing club, which I was apart of and he also taught my younger sister earlier on in the year. He was the toughest teacher in the English department, and the scariest…but I didn’t think so. He was actually very nice, and he helped me improve on many things throughout the year. Unfortunately, though I had started his class getting 80%, my marks became 60%. I was heartbroken. For the first time in that year I was so frustrated and disappointed with my marks that I had to fight back tears in class. I nearly thought about leaving. I’d gotten 3 assignments back in a row, all 65% or lower. It made me feel like throwing up. I felt hopeless. I wasted my time retaking a course that I didn’t need to redo and I was doing worse than before. I finished the class off with 70%, which was lower than the mark I’d gotten in summer school. I was so angry that I wasn’t sure of what I should do. I never wanted to go through that again but I learned that sometimes when we work hard, we don’t always get the results we want but what doing well in university English has taught me, is that my teacher from high school pushed us so that we would be ready for university English assignments and that if we try hard and it doesn’t work the first time, you just need to try something different.
Each assignment I do, if my professors or T.A’s make any comments I will take them and improve upon what they said for future assigned work.
I really wanted to share this with you all because though I have always loved reading and writing, and though English is my favourite class, throughout my elementary and high school careers, my teachers had discouraged me from pursuing English entirely. One teacher even wrote that they didn’t believe I had any interest in the subject of English, while my parents and I knew that I had been writing novels and stories for years and had been assisting my friends with their English homework. I proved that teacher wrong a year later when I was again put into their English class. I think maybe they just didn’t like me because I also had them for Art and I’m always getting 84% to like 90% in Art and this teacher gave me a 60%. Plus when I proved them wrong about the English thing, they gave me a 65% and wrote on a book mark they made me, “Your love for storytelling brings a unique (something or other) to your writing.”
I try to be optimistic so when people try to discourage me I end up trying harder.
The bad experiences that I had with my teachers in the past has also showed me what not to do when I myself become a teacher. I want to be an encourager of talent, a trusted person that my students can go to when they need someone to listen, and someone who allows them to let their dreams take flight.
Well….to those with exams I wish you all the best!