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Hooper 1 Melissa Hooper Ms.

Weaver Rhetoric 1 November 16, 2013 Two in One Everyones literacy narrative is completely different. As a literate, mine began as a child. Because my brother and I are only one year apart, we were compared a lot. The comparisons started even before I began attending school, and they began in my favor. I was a quick learner, and I started reading around two years old. Josh, my brother, learned along with me, at three. While my mother was teaching him words with flashcards, I would try to act it out behind her. My mom loves to tell me about the times I would make whiskers and meow behind her, mouthing cat to him. When my brother and I began attending the local kindergarten, my parents realized they did not agree with a lot of aspects of the public education system. They came to a decision to pull us out of school and homeschool us. As kids, we loved it. My younger sister, Amanda, was also homeschooled. Our age gaps were not very large, and that helped our learning. We could take classes together, go on field trips, take breaks, and do so much more, all on the same schedule. However, that evolved as we got older. When we moved from Massachusetts to North Carolina, my parents agreed upon placing us into public school. My brother started middle school and my sister began 2nd grade, all without a hitch. I was supposed to start 5th grade, but my parents got a phone call a few weeks before classes started, stating I would be put into the fourth grade. The reasoning behind this is because I was homeschooled, and was not as excelled as other kids my age. My parents are my

Hooper 2 heroes, and they fought tooth and nail to get me into the rightful class. Looking back on it, it may have been better for me to be in the 4th grade. Not because I wasnt as smart as the kids my age, but because that year was torture. The children I was with made my life hell, all because they had known each other longer, and I was the shy, homeschooled freak who came from the ghetto. They not only hurt me physically, but emotionally. Until this time, I loved learning. However, the only thing these teachers and students taught me was to stick up for myself, how to block a punch, and know when to keep quiet. It was almost like I was homeschooling again; instead of learning from teachers, I taught myself by reading constantly. It would be on the playground, the bus, before classes started, whenever I could get my hands on a book. Books were a safe haven from the torment, and are still an outlet for my pain to this day. After finishing my worst year of schooling, I moved up to middle school. My parents did not realize the degree of torture I went through, and kept me in a public school. However, they got me into a magnet school, centered around the museums of downtown Raleigh. Not only would I be able to pursue more sciences, but I would also be with my brother again. We didnt see each other a lot, but it was nice to know he was there in the same building. After 6th grade, I came to the conclusion that I no longer wanted to be in public school. I begged my parents to let me go back home, and they agreed. They pulled my brother and I, yet kept my sister in her Montessori. Josh began to resent me for this the older we got. He wanted to stay in school, with friends. While my mind went back to being focused on learning, he became a slacker in studies. You wouldnt think this would affect me, but it did no matter how hard I tried, he always got better grades than I did, especially in writing. While a lot of his intelligence came easy, I struggled. It deeply effected my desire for learning as I entered my junior year of high school the first year since leaving public school

Hooper 3 that I would have no classes with him. Josh became rebellious, and got into a lot of dangerous situations trying to hurt our family. My parents gave into his pleading and enrolled him in the local high school his senior year. I had no desire to write whatsoever; my history was always Why cant you do this as quickly/neatly/efficiently as your brother? I told myself that he always ended up with a better grade anyway, and I questioned why I should attempt to get a good grade anyway. It was an unhealthy comparison, but I did not realize it at the time. I entered my first writing class that year with no motivation, and it affected my grades. Whenever you talk to athletes, theres always someone they look up to, and they compare themselves to those role models. I used to have that person sitting next to me, playfully teasing me on what I would do. It pushed me to do better, but without him there, in my mind I had no reason to write. My grades slipped, and my teachers noticed. Kendra Erickson, my writing teacher for that year, approached me after class one day. She was only 20 at the time, and her younger brother was Joshs age. Our relationship was not only teacher and student, but also friends. She knew I had esteem issues with my writing, and that my family situation was not normal, and she asked if there was something she could do about it. I wasnt open to her approaching the subject of my home life, and she realized I was not going to talk about it. Instead, she took out my most recent paper, a final draft in which I got an F on. She handed it back, and gently told me Melissa, Im going to give you another chance on this paper. Its not an F, its just 58% completed. Those words changed my life. I still struggle with motivation for my writing, but now whenever I get a bad grade on a draft, I just try to think about what she said. My mindset is no longer, Well, 65% sucks. Now, I think of it as only partially completed, and I always have the chance to make it 100% perfect. Unfortunately, my brother did not have teachers continue to

Hooper 4 encourage him to take his schooling to a new level. I found out at the end of my junior year that Josh would not be graduating from high school; he needed to pass on more math class, and he did not show up for the test day. My brother and I learned alongside each other as children, and I believe we both struggled with the expectations thrust upon us. We are two different people, not only with separate genders and ages, but personalities. However, I cannot share my literacy narrative without him. He was always there, physically or mentally, throughout my schooling career, and is one of the biggest influences in my life. When friends ask me why I try so hard in schooling, I always remind myself of him. Now that Im in college, and he is over three hours away, I dont get to see him as much, but he is still that person pushing me. He may never realize it, but he is the reason I want to be better, even if I have to work harder. Being on my own completely away from not only family and friends, but the places you feel most comfortable has given me another push to be independent. I finally realized a person does not have to be looking over your shoulder to make you do better you have to put work into it too, or it will never be 100% complete.