Now that sophomore year is coming to a close I feel that I have grown as a student and a person in a large span of aspects. Tenth grade English has been the central focal point that this growth developed from.
5 Dimensions of English
As a speaker I have grown. My goal in the beginning of the year (all goals at my introduction page) was to gain more confidence so that I would not be afraid to share my thoughts with a class and to improve my speaking skills. I do feel that I have come a long way in these areas, however I still have a lot of developing to do. Although I rarely find strength enough to volunteer my thoughts with the class, I am less afraid to share them when I am called on. Additionally, I feel that when I am giving a prepared speech with the class I am much less intimidated. My biology teacher told me that I came a long way in that area, however I need to work on directing the tone of my voice.
Based on the hundreds of pages that I read in sophomore English class, I can rightfully say that my reading skills have grown. We read about eleven novels and plays in the class. It took a lot of time, however it allowed me to accomplish my goals as a reader. At the beginning of the year my hopes as a reader were to improve my close reading skills, enjoy reading, and improve my vocabulary level. I conquered all three of these desires. When tests were first given on the books that we read I was receiving fairly good grades, however I always seemed to miss a detail here or a detail there. However, in the last marking period I found myself knowing all of the answers on the quizzes, such as for the Crucible and Of Mice and Men. I knew more late in the year because I had become better at close reading. I plan on continuing growth in this area in the future because it comes with experience. In the point of enjoying reading, I actually found it happening. Last year I did not like reading books for English class. However, I feel that the curriculum chose a lot of good reading materials for 10th grade English, especially "Catcher in the Rye," "My Name is Asher Lev" and "Oedipus the King." The one book which was not of value to me was "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" because I thought it was too unadventurous. Finally, I feel that my vocabulary level has had increased a lot. This is due to reading and to all of the vocabulary lessons which were completed. I am glad to have an increasing vocabulary because it is of a lot of importance for SATs.
As a listener I feel that I have grown a lot. My goals as a listener this year were to gain more patience to focus on topics of discussion and to give my full attention to whomever the speaker was. I now feel successful in this area. This year I felt that the topics being discussed were much more worthy of paying attention to than freshman year when I simply had a teacher speaking gibberish throughout the entire class. I made an effort to always be attentive in class because that was the only way that I would learn more. This was sometimes hard since English was my first class of the day, however I feel that I performed well in the area. I hope to continue to develop my listening skills next year, and in life.
I grew as a viewer this year. My goal as a viewer was to be aware that it is important to be an attentive viewer. This was my goal because freshmen year it was never necessary for me to pay attention to what there was to view based on the situation in the classroom. However, in 10th grade English I had to be an attentive viewer when watching films, a speaker, and note taking from the board or overhead. I feel that I was successful in these areas. Every time a film was viewed on the television I left the class with a complete understanding of what I had just seen because I was able to pay attention to it. As in reading, I need to continue developing my close viewing skills so that I see notice the details of what it is I am viewing.
Finally, and most importantly to me as an English student, I have grown in the dimension of a writer. In the past year I have written research papers, a personal narrative, a persuasive essay, responses to literature, a newspaper article, a modern translation of a play, and even my own drama on hysteria. By writing such a large variety of papers, I accomplished my goal of learning to write many styles of work. I also hoped to gain more experience at writing introductions and conclusions to essays because I felt that I needed work at capturing the reader's attention at the beginning of a paper. I think I successfully grew in this sense. I am most happy with the introduction I wrote for my "My Name is Asher Lev" research paper. The paper begins with the following lines: "Conflicting values are a constant issue in society. In diverse civilizations minorities become out ruled by the majority. In Twentieth Century American culture there are many difficulties in existing as a minority."
Strengths and Weaknesses
My strengths in English class have developed in the past year due to all of the work which I have completed. The one strength I have developed which I feel is most important to my success as an English student is my ability to manage my time. In previous years I was a complete procrastinator. I would hold off on all assignments until the night before they were due. However, this year if I had done this I never would have finished assignments because they were too detailed to wait on. Therefore, I had to learn to manage my time. By accomplishing this I found that my final products were much better because I had the time to revise and edit them to the fullest. Another strength I have is taking information from sources and applying it to a thesis, as was necessary in the research papers written this year. I feel that I did a good job at this in my "Northanger Abbey" research paper. My thesis to that paper was "In the novel "Northanger Abbey," Jane Austen uses character development to portray the theme of being separated from loved ones." Although it appears simple, it actually took a lot of research to develop, as is clear when the paper is read. Additionally I feel that I have gained strength at making web pages. I am happy to make this statement, considering that I knew nothing on the subject when I began sophomore year. Finally, I find my ability to self assess myself as both and English student and a person, has become one of my strengths in the past year. I find this to be a very important ability to have because it helps one to see the truth about themselves and not make up excuses. From doing on a quarterly basis this year, I feel that I recognize the good and bad characteristics that I have. This is very important in the real world because I apply it to my performance on the soccer field, when I fill out job applications, and in the future, will find it helpful on college applications.
I still have many weaknesses as an English student, and know that I will always be improving in many areas. One weakness that I have is decisiveness. I have a lot of trouble coming up with topics to use when I am writing a paper. For instance, when writing my drama on hysteria, I could not come up with a topic which I felt was worth writing about. When I finally thought of something that I thought I could elaborate on, I had lost a few days, which would have been helpful to use to get a head start on the assignment. Another weakness I have is keeping on topic. For instance, when writing a paper I often find myself using details which do not support my thesis, rather than staying on track the entire time. When I had this problem with my first research paper, I tried my best to improve on it on the "My Name is Asher Lev" research paper. I also find vocabulary to be a difficulty I have. I often struggled when taking the vocabulary tests. I feel that this is somewhat my fault for not studying enough and not remembering the words after I take the quiz. This is an area I will improve on in the future.
My Expectations For the Class
Coming into 10th grade English, I had many expectations for the class. I was looking forward to a new class after having an unproductive freshmen year in English due to the teacher that I had. My hopes were to be given a variety of assignments with different topics. I did not expect to have class long lectures, and I was expecting to enjoy the web page assignment. For the most part English did live up to my expectations. The year turned out to be very productive (probably more so than I had hoped, but definitely better than doing nothing). The variety in the assignments was definitely evident because we covered all styles of writing as I hoped, rather than just writing persuasive essays. There were few class lectures. That made me happy because I do not learn well in that environment. others. The problem with it is that it is so hard to complete at home. As for the web page assignment, I enjoyed it some days and not others. It was frustrating when computers did not cooperate, but for the most part is was a valuable experience as I had hoped.