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Joann Gurrola
Professor Lawson
English 113A
1 October, 2014
Essay 1 Final Draft
Word count: 1,478
English was never one of my favorite subjects. Being forced to write about something I
didn’t want to write about and reading something that wasn’t enjoyable was pointless to me.
Always thinking that writing had to be written using so much advanced vocabulary I couldn’t
even understand. Writing essays upon essays that didn’t mean anything to me. However, it
wasn’t until my senior year in high school that English became one of my favorite subjects.
Senior year made me nervous, new and higher grade, along with more complex readings.
I didn’t like to read books, I was nervous of getting forced to read books that I wasn’t going to be
able to understand. I didn’t want to fail a class for not being able to understand what I was
reading. Using advance vocabulary wasn’t something I was good at. It would be embarrassing if
I had to pull out a dictionary every time I didn’t understand a word. I was a “senior” people my
age had a complex vocabulary and so did my friends. There were times I heard friends speak and
didn’t understand what they were saying half of the time. I was that one person to nod and stay
quiet, it was almost as if they were aliens and I was on Mars. I felt stupid not knowing what they
were talking about.
I started senior year in the hot month of August. “Why do we start school in the Summer
when it’s suppose to be a Fall semester?” something I will never understand. Going to school

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was hell because the hot LA weather was like walking on the sun. I had gotten my schedule and
got English for 5th period second to last class of the day. “Great just great! English after a long
hot day, horrible! how am I going to be able to read and write things, by the end of the day I’ll be
too tired. Especially reading something boring, how will I ever stay awake?” I thought. Fifth
period came and it was time for English. I walked over to the class with my friend Nick who also
had the same class. We walked to these bungalows by the volleyball courts, they were very
distant from the other buildings at my school. I never had a classroom there before. We entered
the classroom that had B/B spray painted on the door. As I walked into the classroom it was like
walking into an oven. A short man with a white collar shirt and khaki pants told another student
to open the back windows. “Sorry guys but the A/C doesn’t work” he sighed. Everyone sighed
and started to complain. “This is going to be a long year” I said sitting by a desk closest to the
door. His name was Mr.Banks some students that already had him called him the “coolest
teacher ever”. There were good and bad comments about him. “I heard he makes you read a lot
of books” a girl behind me whispered to her friends. I was not sure how to feel about Mr.Banks.
As the bell rang, I sat down and he welcomed the class his voice sounded so joyful he was filled
with so much energy and enthusiasm in teaching his students. He was so different from the other
teachers that I had in the past. Mr.Banks made you feel special, like if he wasn’t wasting his time
teaching you. He started to read to us the class rules and how the class would be set up. “This is
English so we will read and write! But I will allow you to read a book you choose.” My eyes
widened and I filled with joy obviously I didn’t jump in the air but to show my excitement I
smiled. “I’m not going to make you read something you aren’t going to like.” He looked at me
and smiled as I smiled back.

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The class was set up like this everyday at the beginning of class we had to read for the
first 25 minutes of class. We could either read a book, magazine or a comic book. He offered
some books and magazines of his own but you would get extra points if you brought your own
from home. He gave you this stamp sheet and it had a list for the whole week he would stamp the
days we brought the books and at the top there was an extra box for a stamp saying you brought
your own book. Everyday at the beginning of class he would walk around with his blue stamp
that said “OK”. He would make you say “I brought my own book”, then he would stamp the box
and say “ding ding” as if we had won a video game or something. It made me feel proud about
reading something that I wanted to read and finally reading a book I understood. He also did this
thing called book circle where we got into groups of 3 or 4 people and read a book kind off like a
mini book club. Every three weeks he would take us to the library to pick a book you would want
to read with your group. Having book circle helped me read so many books and finish reading
books. I felt proud of myself that I was finally able to read a book that I liked, and better yet
finish a book for once. Giving us three weeks to read helped with my reading speed and having
us talk with people that were reading the same book helped me understand the book. However,
there were times when we didn’t choose what to read Mr.Banks would choose readings he knew
we would like.
Writing essays was always tough for me. I never wanted to share my opinion; I didn’t
want to prove anything. Although, it was always because I had the fear of being wrong. When it
came to writing the first essay for Mr.Banks, I was very nervous because since I was a senior and
I was the only one who had an A in his class he expected me to write a great essay. I was
nervous because I wanted to make him proud and in the past I was told by teachers to use more
complex language to make it look better. As I did my essay I tried to do all that he asked make a

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thesis and prove it. So I did when I was done writing it I told one of my friends to read it over to
see if it looked like a good essay. When she was done reading my essay she looked up and
smiled “Wow Joann that essay is great! I think yours is better than mine!” she laughed. The day
came to turn in my essay and I turned it in with a smile having a good feeling about what I had
written. One week passed and Mr.Banks had graded the essays I was so excited to see what
grade I had gotten. As he passed them back, I heard my name being called “Joann!”. Those three
seconds he spent walking over to my desk felt like the longest three seconds in my life, it was
like everything slowed down and the sound of the students just faded and the only thing in that
classroom was me and that essay. I was nervous to look at my essay at first I didn’t want to see a
big red F on it. As he handed it to me and smiled and I knew I had done a good job. Seeing that
essay and for once not seeing a B or a C but an A I felt so proud of myself.
Mr.Banks later started to see my potential and he saw that I was committed to learning. I
was one of his favorite students. He showed me ways I could improve my writing and make it
sound as it was my own and not something that was forced or make it sound like a robot had
written it. For once I enjoyed reading and was open to reading anything that was offered. He also
showed me ways to help me understand what I was reading. If it wasn’t for Mr.Banks I would’ve
never found reading a book or even writing enjoyable. I may not be the best writer or the best at
having an advanced vocabulary words but I know that if I put my mind in doing something I
enjoy and making it enjoyable I can achieve it. Now I go to school with an open mind to learn
new things and take risks. All I can say now is “Thank you Mr.Banks, you are indeed the coolest
teacher ever!”

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