A6 Doubt & Fear Response

During the Holocaust, ordinary words that are spoken in our everyday world is strikingly different compared to how they were used in the concentration camps. To the prisoners who suffered days of pain, torture, and hunger, the words that they once used daily began to change and distort in their meaning. For example, to most people, sleep is a word used to describe resting at night to get energized and fused up for the next day. But for the prisoners, sleep had a totally different meaning. In their world of misery, sleep meant rest that they longed for, but it also meant an escape and a way for death to swoop upon their weakened souls. The prisoners who were determined to survive feared sleep, while others who had lost all hope welcomed it.

On a similar topic, it is said that no words in our ordinary language could describe the atrocities and offences of the Holocaust, and I must agree with that. It depends on how the words are used in context, and nobody from the outside could be able to come up with words to express the feelings of the prisoners if they have never experienced it themselves. Families were destroyed, men were torn apart, children were thrown into graves with their in incenses, and none of these words I am using right now could ever express the horror and crimes committed in the concentration camps.

Student Showcase Response

What my school did differently for parent-teacher interviews this year was turn it into a student showcase. In it, the student, parent, and teachers got together and the student would present their portfolio of work to their parent as the teacher watches. This is a written response of what I thought of the process.

Overall, I felt that I was fully prepared for the student showcase. We had time to gather up the materials we wanted for our presentation and write up a short review about each class, including the goals we had, the skills to be assessed, and the strengths and weaknesses of our learning behaviors. I found getting prepared for the interview quite simple, to be honest. I had all my assignments in every course ready for my dad to see and I used the table we had filled out to guide my interview.

If I were to state the truth, there wasn’t a lot of things I enjoyed about the interview process. I understand that it does build communication skills and prepares the student for interview processes but I feel like it’s unnecessary for me as I am a hardworking student and I do self analyse my work quite often. My dad already knows that I do my best and try hard in school, so he didn’t really have any questions or concerns about anything. The only thing I enjoyed about the interview process was getting to chat with the teachers and that’s about it.

If there were things to be improved for next year’s student showcase, I would say that there needs to be more teacher input about the student’s work. Sure, the student gets to talk about their progress in their classes, but the teacher could also offer suggestions to the students and tell him what things they could be better at or the things they are good at. It was nice to have the student in control of the interview time but if the teacher added a few more comments too about how they’re doing in class it would be helpful too.

My Shoe Story

You’re in the shoe department of a store, when you come across a pair of flats. But these aren’t just any ordinary flats. With a smooth black outer side, embroidery upon the curved toes, and a soft blue cushioning within, these pairs of shoes seem so simple. But did you know that they have the power to represent who I am as a person? How incredible is that? Flats are shoes that I always prefer to wear because they are comfortable in my feet. It’s like how I’m comfortable in my skin and my place on the world. You feel the soft interior, a touch that’s just like the softness and quietness in my personality. These pair of shoes are quite petite, and that is how I feel sometimes compared to the big and powerful people around me. The flats also have a cute and feminine design and I’ve always adored cute and feminine things. But the one thing that’s quite unique about these flats is that they have faded toes, where the outer skin looks as if they’re peeling off. They have been worn out from me wearing them so often as I’m working and helping my parents in our restaurant, a place where business gets busy and I’m on my feet a lot. Even though they may be a pair of really prett flats, it’s amazing how something as ordinary as them can really connect to me and my personal values.

A7 – The Secret Side

If you were to glance at Tyler, the handsome young teen who attended the local high school as a senior and played as quarterback for the football team, you would expect his life to be pleasant and happy. Working hard in his classes, he maintained a high average  and hung around a group of other boys who looked up to him as their leader. But Tyler was more than what he seemed, behind his crooked smiles and his outgoing nature that girls cooed and sighed over. There was a piece of his identity that he’d kept to himself, ever since he discovered that he wasn’t like the other boys in his class. If he were to reveal who he truly was to society, he knew that there would be dangers and he knew that his life would break apart. His father, the man who taught him the ways of flirting with woman and who raised him to be an empowering young boy, would be extremely disgusted if he ever found out the truth behind his son. And so Tyler continued on with his education, athletics, and social life, feeling as if he was acting on a false version of himself the entire time.

But once he met Nick, things changed, and Tyler was unsure of whether it was a change that brought happiness to his life or a change that could destruct if things went wrong. They agreed that they would keep their relationship a secret, that it would only between them, although there was nothing Tyler wanted to do more was shout to the world how much love he felt for Nick. He felt a sense of longing as he sat with his friends the lunch room, sneaking a peek at Nick who sat a few tables away and nodded, giving him a cautious wink and grin. They exchanged letters to each other in the library, hiding notes between thick volumes of books and novels. Avoiding the eyes of the public, they met on the weekends, usually in the dark of night where you would only see the silhouettes of two young smiling boys together and nothing more. And although Tyler dreamed of marrying and living with Nick someday, the possibility of upsetting  his family and friends made him shrink back into the shadows and into the comfort of his boyfriend, who was facing the same struggle as he was. Perhaps one day he would be strong enough to openly confess that he was different, but just as special and should not be treated any different. But for now, Tyler continued to live two lives: as a star athlete in the light and a caring boyfriend in the dark.

A7 – Death By Homework

One of the major problems that many students face to this day is the problem of having overwhelming amounts of homework they are assigned to complete even after the school day has ended. As they carry heavy textbooks, binders, and notes, trudging home, they mutter that the teachers have been giving them way too much homework, and they are correct. Although many adults believe that it’s helpful to complete a bit of paperwork at home, it becomes a big stress builder on the student when they are given a number of assignments and tests to study for at the same time. Not only do teenagers face the struggle of peer pressure, family problems, and adjusting to their work schedules, but they are faced with the burden of having too much homework, which seems certainly unfair. As a student, there are those unfortunate times where my subjects overlapped and I’m faced with two exams and the deadlines of a bunch of assignments, leaving me very exhausted and anxious. However, if there was to a set amount of homework given each night, such as a minimal amount of questions to complete, things would not be so bad and the stress wouldn’t be as high. Students would be able to finish their work happier and enjoy the other benefits of life instead of coped up at home studying in a lowlight room for hours. Those who are behind, of course, would have to catch up on their own time, but they would also have time to deal with life once they get their work done. Although homework is essential for school, teachers are giving out too much nowadays and should refer to assigning a certain amount instead for the sake of the student

A7 – Reflecting On The Quality Of Your Work

Just like any other student, there are several common errors in my writing that occur frequently, causing me to lose marks over and over. Sometimes they are just unseen mistakes I’m not aware of or that I miss when I edit, and because these mistakes could potentially hinder my success, I have accumulated a plan that I will follow in order to become a more skilled writer. One of the most important aspect of my plan includes the use of peer editing where I ask a friend or another family member to go over my writing before it’s submitted to catch the mistakes that I am blind to. Since everyone sees the world differently, if I’ve worded a sentence awkwardly, it’ll stand out more confusing to them than it does for me. Along with this technique, I also plan to keep on putting a lot of hard work into my editing strategy where I review each sentence individually to focus on its structure and fix it if necessary. That way, I’ll be able to catch any mistakes if there are any and it’s always easier to focus on a smaller portion of text rather than a large one. And last of all, one of the last things I also plan on working on is to keep practising my writing. As they say practice makes perfect, it’ll also help my skills develops and improve the flow of my writing so that the process will come more naturally to me. It may not be an easy task, but all the work I put into overcoming my mistakes will be worth it in the end.

My Reading Strategies

Reading was always one of my strengths as a younger kid, but as I grew up I feel that my reading skills are slowly weakening. After completing the reading strategies self assessment, I scored 5 points, which suggested that I did have reading strategies, but it wasn’t enough for me to become a successful reader, to which I honestly agree with. Whenever I begin to read certain texts, usually I just go for it. Rarely do I ever interact with the text by annotating symbols or highlighting words unless the teacher specifically instructs me to, because I find that it distracts me and disrupts my flow of reading the words. Sometimes when I read literature, I don’t always remember what I just read because I don’t have any interest with the text that I am reading or it overall confuses me. Looking at this, I know that there are certainly a lot of flaws to my reading style, and that I should try to put in some effort improve. To start, I should be reading each sentence carefully to take in all the details instead of rushing through and making no meaning to it. I should also begin to review the contents of the text before I begin to read it so I know what to expect. Though reading can be a challenge, there are many techniques to overcome and master it!

A4 – Cultural Personal Reflection

My Cultural Identity

Growing up as a child whose parents have immigrated to Canada, my family have always had a significant and stable connection to the culture of our home country, and there have been certain aspects that we acknowledge. As she missed the traditional food that was served back in her home country, my mother is always cooking up popular Vietnamese & Laotian meals and desserts that I quite enjoy, such as pork stew, rice vermicelli, or papaya salad. Although my main language will always be English, my parents have spoken Vietnamese to me ever since I was a young child, to which I can fairly understand and recite the accent back to them. Having a satellite that also picks up foreign channels, my family have also enjoyed some of the entertainment from our home country, as they frequently watch Vietnamese news or Thai drama series. On occasion, we also listen to the music that we have in CDs or on the internet, whether it is Lao country music or Thai pop songs. And most importantly, although we are familiar with the Christian religion, my parents have always had Buddhist ceremonies and practices, whether it was worshipping Him by lighting incense and giving their prayers or celebrating the annual Chinese New Year with moon cake, feasts, and blessings. Even though my family resides in the country of Canada, we will always have a strong connection to our traditional religion, cuisine, and entertainment.

A Lost First Nations Cultural Identity

One of the most unfortunate things about the First Nations culture today is that it is not as acknowledged in present day society as much as it deserves to be, and if I was a person of First Nations descent, I would be extremely concerned. Culture remains a significant part of many peoples’ lives, and if it was it was slowly beginning to disappear, I would feel my sense of self fade away as well. With a part of me gone, I would have difficulty establishing an identity as who I really was, and it would be really important to my being as to establishing a stronger connection to the traditional First Nations culture. There are many ways I could go about to leaning more about the culture if I was lost, and that includes asking my family more about the traditions and spiritual religion and becoming more engaged with the First Nations culture. If they happened to be just as distant from the culture as I was, I would seek other alternatives such as visiting reserves and joining more Native pride clubs to become an active member in the Native American community. Although it is quite sad to see how uncommon Aboriginal culture is represented in Canadian society these years, there are many ways that the people are able to connect back to their culture again, as if I was a Native American person it would be an important part of who I am and where I stand.

Short Term and Long Term Goals

As a student, there are several goals that I have for the semester of English class. Starting with short term goals, what I really wish for is to stay caught up with the sections and handouts, and to hand in everything on time. It may be difficult at times, since there is a lot of paperwork to manage, but I do have a plan of organizing it much better – such as spending free time doing ELA homework and managing my time well. As well, there is also the option of keeping track how many assignments I hand in on time and how many I hand in late. Another one of my short term goals includes contributing more in class discussions and to continue to be an active learner in class. Although I do listen when it comes to discussion about the topics we are learning about, I sometimes feel to shy to express my viewpoints. To achieve this goal and measure the amount of success I have at it, I plan to just come out of my shell a little bit more and start speaking out. To avoid the tired feeling I have almost daily, I should get a better rest the previous night so that I can focus more on the coursework. While I do that, I should also evaluate myself and keep track of how many times I’ve chosen to take part in class discussions.

In contrast to short term goals, there are also a couple of long terms goals I am striving to accomplish throughout the course of the ELA class. One specific goal I have in mind is to continue constantly being creative in all my writing pieces. Throughout last semester in Grade 11, I felt like my creativity and imagination in my writing pieces was “deteriorating” from a bunch of stress and tiredness, but throughout my senior year, I hope that I can rekindle the old passion I had for writing. To achieve this goal, there are many things that I plan to do, including getting more ideas online to become inspired and motivated. I want to be able to put more effort into my writing and feel satisfied and proud of it in the end, and once I feel that the end result is good enough, that is how I will measure how successful I am at accomplishing this goal. Not only do I wish to improve my writing, but another long term goal I have is to be more of an active reader who is able to read literature and understand the meaning into it. Throughout my high school years, I feel that my liking for reading books has decreased dramatically. I no longer read as much as I used to as a kid, and I want to change that. Some of the things I will do is make more visits to the library and find good books that I’ll enjoy reading. After completing a novel, I should also read book reviews and analysis’s online to get a better understanding of its moral, theme, and meaning it has behind the words. Although it will take a lot of hard work to keep up with these goals, it will be completely worth it in the end.