I was constantly switching schools during the first years of my student life. In my first grade, I studied at a semi-boarding school that provided me breakfast and lunch because both of my parents had to work and were never at home. Then, in my second grade, I switched to a public school that was near my house because my mother hired me a nanny. But then in my third grade, my family moved to the big city, thus leading to another change of school. It did not stop there. In my fourth grade, my nanny got married and quit her job, so I had to, again, switch to a boarding school.
Luckily for me, I was able to stay there for 2 years before going to junior high school. Switching schools so many times like that, I did not really have the chance to make many memories; however, I always remember my fourth school as the place that gave me some very valuable presents. In Vietnam, each school has a different technique in running and teaching, and as I was constantly switching schools, I got to experience many unique customs that each one had. In my first school, I was allowed to pick my own food and place to sleep at naptime. My second school had a unique mid-day exercise that took place every day at 9 a.
m. My third school was located in the middle of a market, thus at every recess, students would go outside with their teachers to shop for lunch. And then came my fourth school. It was a private and prestigious one. Students were required to wear different uniforms on different days. When it was Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I would wear a blue dress; and on Tuesday and Thursday, I would wear a red one. I remembered clearly the excitement I got every morning, choosing what dress to wear for that day. I learned the order of seven days in a week thanks to that custom.
Now that I am coming to the end of high school and to the beginning of my college education, it scares me to death. Going to school has been one of my biggest priorities and the most routine part of my life for the past thirteen years. I have many more years to get through, but the years that I spent in elementary school and junior high were the most memorable. I have learned so much since then, ...
However, that is not the most valuable lesson that I learned from my fourth school. As my fourth school was an elite one, both teachers and students were expected to perform their best. Teachers had their own evaluation documents that must be updated every week, stating how well their students were doing, including the number of absences, violations of rules, and the students’ scores in every test. This put a lot of pressure on the teachers, because their bonus salary depended on the outcome of their students, thus they came up with many original ideas to maintain their reputation.
I cannot remember what the literature classes were like then, but I can still recall vividly how peculiar the preparation for the exams was. In my fourth grade, literature class was all about how to write a descriptive essay. The topics were always “describe your pet,” “describe your favorite ruler,” “describe your favorite pen,” and so on. If you don’t have a pet, it’s okay, because no pet would be as acceptable and as “true” as your teacher’s pet. My teacher would read out loud her outline for a certain topic and asked us students to write it down.
We were then required to memorize the outline by heart. In the tests that took place in class, we were still allowed to write the essay in our own words, although the ideas were taken from the teacher’s outline. But when it came to the final exams, we would be given a completed essay to memorize and our only job then was to rewrite it. Things were going just fine with these tests until that one exam where the topic for my essay was to describe my favorite food. My teacher gave me a very detailed essay about Pho, my country’s somewhat national food.
I might not have any special preference for pet or stationary, but food was different. My brother taught me how to eat chili since I was 5 or 6 years old, so I had a different pick on food than that of most of my friends, and that of what adults thought of. Also, I especially hated Pho. It was due to my food poisoning incident in the past when one particular bowl of Pho caused me to spend a whole week in the hospital. However, in the essay that my teacher gave me, I apparently loved Pho; I loved its flavorful broth.
In Peter Elbow's, Writing for Teachers, he states, "Teachers are one of the trickiest audiences of all, yet they also illustrate the paradox that audiences sometimes help you and sometimes get in your way." A teacher's experience can give a student author valuable insight to the development of his writing, while at the same time offer criticism that may prove beneficial. Unfortunately, the ...
I also loved that one day I would be able to eat pepper and chili like my parents because their bowls of Pho were always more colorful and more attractive than mine. It was completely absurd, but I followed through. I finished writing down “my essay” in thirty minutes. Thirty minutes was an appropriate time for a student to write a final exam’s essay in my school if that student was a good student and memorized the essay by heart. But then, I still had one more hour before the exam ended, so I decided to write another one. I wrote about instant noodle.
It was a very spicy type of noodle from Thailand. I loved it. Whenever I opened the lid, I could see the red color of chili powder all over the bowl, and its scent of chili would wake up all of my senses. So I wrote about it, about how accomplished I felt after each time I finished the whole bowl, and how my tear and sweat would pour out. I felt really excited when writing that essay, anticipating eagerly what the teacher who graded my essay would feel. Would he or she be able to experience what I experienced, or feel the same excitement I had when taking the first bite. I found myself asking
those questions enthusiastically, and for the first time, I actually felt thrilled when writing. Then, I suddenly realized that I had all of these wonderful feelings inside of me that I wanted to share to the world. That was probably why I talked a lot. Whenever I told my friends a story, I always did my best to make sure they understood and felt the same way as I did in that situation. And now I realized that writing could help me achieve the same satisfaction. That exam day was one of the most memorable days of my life. Two weeks later, I got the result for the final exam.
The highest score in my class was 9. 5 out of 10, and it belonged to an essay about Pho. I was not even in the top ten highest score. I got 8. 3 out of 10, and the feedback for me was: “Good. Very original. ” I was never able to find out if the teacher actually saw the image that I was trying to deliver, but it’s okay. Thanks to that experience, I discovered another possible way for me to tell my stories. I am an observant person, and I notice a lot of precious little things around me that I want to share with other people. Writing offers me another means of communication, better and more efficient I may say.
A Plan for a Homework Center The school board came up with an idea of making the school day two periods to give students time to do homework in a homework center. The idea of extending two classes is a good one. There are a lot advantages and disadvantages. Students could gain a lot from the homework center.They would have less books and work to take home. There would be more time for teachers to ...