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UPenn Teacher's Autobiography '...with a loud bang, I toppled a pile of books'


pbhat 5 / 16  
Dec 22, 2009   #1
Any Help on this autobiography essay will be appreciated. Thanks!

Prompt: You have just completed your 300-page autobiography. Please submit page 217.

...with a loud bang, I toppled a pile of books, as I crashed to the ground. Even after twenty years of teaching in the same classroom it seemed as though I was as much klutz now as I was as a teenager. Some of my students giggled at my comical fall, a brief reprieve from studying for the impeding doom-a quiz on the Mexican-American war. Slowly, I straightened myself up, fixing my crooked tie and ignoring the mound of toppled books. The next lesson was the connection between the Mexican-American war and the eventual civil war, an interesting subject for the teacher, but perhaps not so much for an AP U.S. history student.

The ringing of the class bell signaled the end of ...

srandhawa 10 / 157  
Dec 22, 2009   #2
I liked the development of this essay alot until the last paragraph. It is unique, I also wrote something about my future rather than my past which i thought was a unique idea not many would do(guess not), but the essay just ends too quickly, and most importantly you don't take full advantage of the most important part of a college admissions essay: the reflective part. Don't get me wrong, this is still a good essay, but i feel like you can come up with something stronger than your concluding statement about being a teacher who has done something right, my advice would be if you are going to use this line, try elaborating with a couple more lines about how you influenced the kids, about how you the individual not your lesson plan but you the individual influenced them. While this is well written, it doesn't tell much about you the individual, nor does it highlight your accomplishments which is always an added plus in an admissions essay, while adcoms will really appreciate the creativity of this, i feel like they will have a hard time of what to make of it. You can give them more direction in this by reflecting more about yourself, your development, one event in twenty years doesn't suddenly make you a respectable teacher, broaden the essay a little.

That's just my advice, alot of it hinges on how you go when you try it, you may find when you do this it doesn't flow or if it takes away from your creative voice, then don't fiddle too much with it, i just feel like you can do more to help you in terms of relating to an admissions officer by going through your thought process a little more and reflecting a little more on your changes in the limited space you have. If you get a chance, could you check my common app essay out, thanks alot
Akshat 2 / 15  
Dec 22, 2009   #3
...with a loud bang, I toppled a pile of books, as I crashed to the ground. Even after twenty years of teaching in the same classroom it seemed as though I was as much klutz now as I was as a teenager. Some of my students giggled at my comical fall, a brief reprieve from studying for the impeding doom-a quiz on the Mexican-American war. Slowly, I straightened myself up, fixing my crooked tie and ignoringignored the mound of toppled books. The next lesson was the connection between the Mexican-American war and the eventual civil war, an interesting subject for the teacher, but perhaps not so much for an AP U.S. history student.

The ringing of the class bell signaledThe class bell rang signaling the end of the students' last minute cramming and the beginning of not only a quiz, but the most drastic change I had made to my curriculum and my students historical experience.Vague!!

"Ok, let's start passing in the quizzes, we've got to start moving 'coz I've got something special for you today." From the back of the class I heard someone ask "you brought donuts for us, again?," my usual form of bribery. "Nope, I brought something even better" I exclaimed. In response I heard a collective groan. As papers shuffled, it looked like the class was getting ready for lecture and notes once again. How I had fooled the poor things! In the back of the classroom I began to open a box marked "HATS," or maybe even better put "imagination caps." In musty cardboard were a slew of straw hats and top hats, military caps and factory caps. These were quite literally thinking caps and were essentially the cheapest financial investment, financially, in the classroom. A few curious students strained their neck to see if I had tripped over a projector cord again or left the classroom. Little did they know this was the beginning of their education-their real education.

I handed out the hats with trepidation; through my head I heard my anxiety echo "Will it work? If this fails, what will my students think of me?" The class shifted nervously in their seats, waiting to hear why they had strange hats in front of them instead of the more ubiquitous and feared AP US history textbook.

I slowly stepped to the front of the class and explained "these hats signify an individual who lived during the Mexican-American war. Each hat has its own history. Each hat belonged to a person, a child of a different background and race, but with a common dream-survival." Some of the kids stared quizzically into my face, like a deerdeers in headlights. I attempted to clarify, "The stories are not written, at least not yet. You will write the hat's histories because the hat's stories are your stories."

A student's hand immediately shot up, "Mr. Bhat, could you tell us how we will be graded on this assignment." This was getting interesting. I spoke with more conviction "You will not be graded, at least not on the scale you are used to. This will be different; you will be given a chance to present your hat and its story to the class and exchange hats with your peers. If your peer can successfully play the role of your hat for a week you will pass, if they can't you will unfortunately have to take a quiz on the Mexican-American war."

My students were used donuts and disaster, not an assignment that mixed imagination and intellect. But, luckily my class was not only quick at learning, they were enthusiastic. Several of the kids began collaborating on story lines that involved all of their hats and even a history textbook. Even II too joined in, picking a hat of my own and designing a storyline with several students. As I scanned the classroom, I knew I had done something right; long gone was the klutz, now he was replaced by someone a bit more respectable-a teacher. Then the bell rang...

I couldn't find more errors in my first read...will look again later!!!The material is good....I too am doing the future because the autobiography is 33 pages...and they asked for the 217th page....I guess everyone would be doing the same!!
sportybluei 7 / 40  
Dec 22, 2009   #4
So you want to be a history teacher! I could definitely feel your passion for it while I was reading. Since this is supposed to be a part of your autobiography, I think this essay is beautiful in terms of your descriptive, vivid language.

Some parts I want to comment on:

From the back of the class I heard someone ask "you brought donuts for us, again?," my usual form of bribery. "

, as donuts were my usual form of bribery to the students would be better.

a box marked "HATS," or maybe even better put "imagination caps."

a box marked "HATS," or rather, "imagination caps."

Little did they know this was the beginning of their education-their real education.

this is a little ambiguous. So everything else that you provided them was NOT a real education?

instead of the more ubiquitous and feared AP US history textbook

textbooks
OP pbhat 5 / 16  
Dec 23, 2009   #5
Thanks guys, all of these comments are invaluable. I just started editing my essay again and will make sure to take in account all of the corrections

Happy Holidays


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