Essay Antics

As AP tests and the end of the year close in, preparations for those tests begin to escalate. As part of that, feedback and constructive criticism can be devastating, but the most useful asset a student has to overcome the AP exam.

Today in English class, we wrote essays in response to a reading we did to analyze the style of writing the author took to make the writing more effective. After I had written my essay, I had realized that I made a poor mistake in my choice of analysis in my thesis and my ideas were poorly organized. I had only realized this after I had written, and wondered on how I could fix this problem. The next day, we did peer reviews, and I got immediate feedback on what I needed to do, including better organization and that I was slightly off from the prompt, and some analytical choices. This was what I needed to succeed, and I was extremely grateful of the criticism because I wanted to improve and score higher on the AP Composition exam. While the criticism is useful, I feel that I need more practice to iron out all the mistakes I would have made on the actual test.

Some people take criticism very sharply and translate it as an attack on their character, but what they need to realize that it is not to hurt them, but rather, to help them. Those who give criticism are not out to hurt you (unless they actually are), but rather to help you improve and succeed, as is the job of teachers.

Another time in my APUSH history class, we had presentations to do, and from what I heard, the previous periods had gotten chewed out. My group was giving the presentation, and after I said some of my lines, I could visibly see my teacher cringe a little. At the end of the presentation, he gave us plenty of criticism and asked us questions, hinting us towards the correct answer that we were so slightly off from. In situations like that, most would have been upset with the teacher’s tone, but I had to stand there and take the feedback. After thinking about this for a little bit afterwards and the following day, I realized that my teacher was not out to get us, but to guide us on the right idea. While others gave their presentations and stood in the front for criticism, I perked up at his words like, “You presented that idea very well.” “You didn’t quite hit the mark, but got very close.” “You are on the right track, but keep going.” These key phrases made me realize that he was not being critical to be critical, but to help all of us prepare for the key things we will need to write on for the AP exam for US history.

I have come to realize that some teachers are sometimes rude and grumpy, but while these may be their qualities, they often aren’t doing it on purpose. They want to help us, to guide us on the right path, to see us succeed in class and in life. I’ll now have to be more keen towards my teachers and the things they say, because while it may seem rude, there is always a deeper meaning and feeling to words.

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