My Growth As A Reader And Writer
“The journey is never ending” — Antonio Brown
English has been a challenge this year for me. The workload in the seventh grade fails to compare to the eight grade, but with this new challenge, I have been through countless beneficial experiences, have developed strengths and discovered new weaknesses. Besides basic things like comma rules, I have learned the importance of our lessons, the values in them, and my own personal reflections. Together, all of these added to my growth as a reader and a writer this year.
My experiences in writing and reading in the Fitz English class have been interesting, positive ones, largely because I genuinely liked going to and being part of the class. Everyday there was a new, often amusing, story in English — whether it was kids being thrown around while we were trying to work, or 5 people throwing cards at each other in the small room while we were trying to play skat. In terms of learning to read and write better in the class, I can see now that sometimes I had conflicts between my learning and my needing to get work done by a deadline. Sometimes these things worked well together, but sometimes I felt pressure just to get something done as opposed to taking more time to really understand something. The goal shouldn’t be just to get the work done; the goal should have more focus on the learning and understanding of what I am reading and writing. I have also learned that sometimes my impatience is not due to me not liking the book, but is really just that I am still just a teenage boy and I have lots of energy and sometimes get restless in class and would rather be doing other things. It’s less of a reflection of what I am reading than where I am right now as a 14 year old boy.
This year I believe I have grown tremendously as both a writer and reader. Over the course of eighth grade, I have developed clear strengths and weaknesses that are evident in my writing. As a writer, I have many strengths, but plenty of weaknesses too. I know that means that I have barely tapped my full potential. When I enter the zone of my writing and am genuinely enjoying my topic, I feel like I can write for hours and do so in an unusual, creative way. This is when I do my best work. For example, when I wrote the a chapter six literary analysis of All Quiet on the Western Front, I felt the words flow out of me. I attribute this to my liking of the material and the structure of the assignment. That structure helps me write more easily. I terms of weaknesses in my writing, I think my greatest difficulty is with grammar. Writing at home feels easier to me than it does in school because I can take more time to be careful and proofread my writing. Commas and the narrative paragraphs still trip me up a lot, although I believe I have become better at using them. Also, if I am tired, unfocused or distracted, my writing and work ethic both suffer. I have been trying to remove things when I work that make me distracted, such as my phone, and I have noticed that this improves my writing.
With respect to reading this year, I think that my greatest strength is that I have become a much more careful and engaged reader. After this year, I try to think about what I’m reading instead of just reading it because I have to. I try to reflect and look back on what I have read to highlight and interpret the themes. I also try to see the difference among the characters and assess what happened in the plot and what its significance is now. As for weaknesses, I would again point to my being distracted when I am reading. It is very easy to get distracted and when that happens, I do not get the main concepts or make the connections I need to in order to understand the book.
The values and skills that I’ve learned in English this year will help me not only in future English classes but also throughout my life. when I was in English in previous years, I did not find much that I thought was relevant to my life. I have really enjoyed our discussions in class because they help me to reflect on my own life and experiences. Learning to reflect like that is a skill I will bring with me. In the future. I have also learned that when you are stuck on something, it is okay to move on the the next thing and come back to it later if you need to. Before, I would often just stay stuck, thinking I could not move forward and backwards, and then I would fall apart. That does not happen much anymore to me. I have learned about commas and narratives paragraphs in writing, but I think these personal skills will stay with me longer. Also, I have learned that writing is a process of trial and error, that sometimes it may not work but you have to go back and do it again. It is okay to make mistakes if you learn from them. And finally, maybe most importantly, I have learned to give a damn. Giving a damn and figuring it out have not only helped me in English but in all ways of life. Giving a damn in English has reminded me that I can do it with time — if it doesn’t come at first, it will eventually. It’s taught me that not every one will come easy and I must put in the effort to do what I need to do. I am the only true person that I can rely on; others can help me but I cannot rely on them because I must be able to do it by myself.
With all the values and lessons I’ve learned this year and the experiences I’ve been through, I’m expecting and planning to have those aspects lead to a more positive tone and approach for me for the future. After experiencing a full year of Fitz’s 8th grade English class and everything that comes with it, I believe I’m on the path towards a more successful and capable future. I can do this by reminding myself that I can and will take time, but that I can work on it. Becoming a good writer and reader is a waiting game in that the more time you put in to something like writing, the better the outcome. I know it takes a million drafts to become a book, and that it is better to get. The work done as a draft then to complain.
Despite all of the challenges I have faced in English this year, (or maybe because of them), English has been my favorite class. In 8th grade. All of the challenges I’ve endured, experiences I have been a part of, and the time devoted to trial and error have all contributed to my growth not only as a reader and a writer, but also as a person. As I move to my next and final level at Fenn, I am more open to learning more as a student and person.