The most significant experience I ever had took place when I first attended the essay class in my college. It is unforgettable as it changed my view of writing. After introducing some aspects of essays, the lecturer assigned us to write about respecting parents. I was extremely confused about the assignment because I think respecting parents is something taken for granted. It is something to implement, not to talk about. What is more, I was used to disliking writing as it requires a complicated process and should be based on various conventions. However, through all the activities in the essay class, I found various interesting aspects and advantages in writing, and they totally turned my aversion to fondness.
I entered college intending to earn a degree in English education. I love to be an English teacher as it will provide me the opportunities to create relationships and community not only with fellow teachers in my country but also with English educators from all over the world. Becoming an English teacher will also enable me to make a meaningful impact on my students' lives. So when I got my first essay writing assignment that asked me to write what I think of respecting parents, I was instantly confused. What has respecting parents to do with English teaching? I also wondered, what is the correct way to accomplish this assignment? I did not want to convey incorrect interpretations through improper writing. Even more troubling was that the lecturer refused to provide us any guidelines on what he wanted to see in our essays. He simply said, "Feel free to write your views on the topic. I want to see what you present about it."
Full of anxiety, I first interviewed some friends, neighbors, and relatives to see what they think of respecting parents. I also read some articles discussing the topic. To my surprise, different people, particularly of different generations, provide different views. Ideas I got from the articles were also varied. So, which one was correct? With these various responses and ideas, I thought I could possibly have thousands, if not a million, of ways to write the essay. Yet which one was my lecturer looking for? While in secondary school, the teachers used to provide examples, guidance, and explanations of solutions. This assignment gave me nothing; I was completely on my own to accomplish it.
Then, despite the various scenario in my mind, the words just did not come to me when I sat down to write. I had numerous ideas in my mind and notes but I could not start to type even a sentence. I decided to read guidelines for writing essays and got ideas about prewriting strategies. But even after trying brainstorming, mind mapping, and outlining, I was still not sure. Eventually, after a lot of stress, I managed to limit on ideas I thought most agreeable, organized them into three sections: what it means to respect parents, why it is important, and how to implement it. Based on the outline, I finally managed to write my first draft.
Next, though I was still unsure of myself, wondering if I was on the right track and what I was saying made sense, I kept on writing the best I could until I finished the draft concluding paragraph. Then I had the draft proofread by three classmates. Based on their feedback, I revised the essay three times before submitting it.
Then, two weeks later, the lecturer gave our essay back to us with grades and comments. I remember feeling simultaneously afraid and eager to get my essay back in my hands. It came about, nevertheless, that I should have not worried. The lecturer gave me an A on the paper, and his notes stated that overall my essay was effective. He also wrote that based on his reading of the essay, it was original and that my ideas were well organized. The only thing I needed to consider was selecting more appropriate dictions to create a more appropriate tone and mood. But these skills would develop in line with practices. The relief and newfound confidence I got while reading his comments could not be exaggerated.
The experience I got through that assignment not only taught me how to effectively write essays and the importance of writing essays. It also taught me to be open to new challenges. Since I disliked writing while in secondary school, I never expected to enjoy writing courses. Completing the essay class, I realized that a good English teacher should also be skillful in writing, not only because writing is one of the language skills but also an effective tool for learning. Writing helped me increase my engagement, content retention, creativity, and critical thinking in all courses I attended. As an educator who is supposed to keep on learning, up to now writing facilitates me to go beyond collecting and memorizing information. It enables me to understand and interact with all facts and ideas I obtained by selecting, weighing, and testing them.
That first assignment and the essay writing class as a whole had given me a better perspective not only on writing but also on my career as an English educator. My writing skills enable me to publish articles and books besides teaching my students. This provides me with quite good additional income. It also caters to greater opportunities to attend conferences and seminars and join various professional communities where I meet many colleagues.
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