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Princeton Quote Essay---Engaging a troublesome child

rtgrove123 5 / 9  
Dec 24, 2009   #1
As I think my introduction/beginning two paragraphs are pritty rough, I'd REALLY appreciate it if you guys could tear this paper apart! THANKS

Prompt: Using a favorite quotation from an essay or book you have read in the last three years as a jumping off point, tell us about an event or experience that helped you define one of your values or changed how you approach the world. Please write the quotation at the beginning of your essay.

"A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on a cold iron." - Horace Mann, The Common School Journal

When I volunteered to teach children Sunday school, I thought it would be a fun experience. I had a real passion for the material and was excited to share it with a room full of kids. As I prepared for my first class, I envisioned myself standing before a group of enraptured boys sitting at attention. What I didn't foresee was Ethan

From the very start, Ethan tested my patience and challenged my abilities as a teacher. He hid my lesson planner, crafted weapons out of loose supplies, and generally made it his purpose to cause mayhem. Every time Ethan acted out, I understood that it was a sign that my approach to teaching wasn't working. So I left my dry curriculum binder in my bag as I experimented with several teaching strategies. I tried everything from playing "Bible hangman" to reenacting battles between David and King Saul, but every lesson invariably ended with me dejected, searching for where Ethan had hid my lesson planner this time.

Soon, I detected a pattern in his behavior. All of his actions were designed to give himself a degree of control over his surroundings. I reasoned that if I could make Ethan feel as though he plaid a larger role in my lessons, he might show more willingness to participate as a productive member of my class. So the next Sunday, I told the kids that if they memorized a Bible verse, they could pick one out for me to learn. This got through to Ethan, and he reveled in the idea of getting to tell me what to do. Every week after that, he would come in with verses already memorized and abnormally long passages highlighted for me to recite to him.

A few months later, Ethan brought in his Bible and insisted on showing it to the entire class. In it, he had highlighted large pieces of text and written effusively in the margins of each page. Ethan informed everyone that he had gotten bored with just memorizing passages and wanted to know more about the stories that they had come from. Seeing his newfound curiosity, I knew that he had changed his approach to learning completely. Moreover, I was stunned that by empowering him in a small way, I had sparked something in this willful kid whereby he just wanted to know more and more about the Bible.

Ultimately, Ethan's transformation changed how I view my role as an educator and as a person. Seeing Ethan's more assertive intellectual temperament allowed me understand that education is not about control but about inspiring other people to reach their true potential. Moreover, this rambunctious kid showed me that I can get through to even the most stubborn people in my life if I approach them right way. The ability to look at even the most reluctant and defiant individuals and know that they too can be reached has proven to be the impetus that drives to teach and become a more tolerant person. Thus, while I only had a year to help Ethan, what he taught me will help me for a lifetime.
EF_Susan - / 2,364 12  
Dec 27, 2009   #2
Your essay is interesting, I was hooked as soon as you mentioned Ethan.

...searching for where Ethan had hidden my lesson planner this time.

...if I could make Ethan feel as though he played a larger role in my lessons,...

I tried everything from playing "Bible Hangman", to...

Seeing his new found curiosity, I knew that...

...education is not about control, but about...

...stubborn people in my life if I approach them the right way.

...they too can be reached, has proven to be the impetus that drives me to teach..
Wanderer_x 5 / 88  
Dec 27, 2009   #3
Very well written, short but adequate. a 100% winning essay! One of the best essays I ve read in EF.

I can get a very clear pictue of you through this essay.

I'd love if you'd take a look into my commonapp essay.

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