You are on page 1of 5

Rincon 1 Cassandra Rincon Rosales English 100 6 December 2013 My Educational Autobiography

Growing up I never thought that I would make music a priority in my life. I have taken plenty of music classes over my time; from 5th grade all the way to my senior year in high school. I have had nothing but great experiences in those classes and I owe it all to my teachers. As I grew older, I began to see how past educational experiences can affect future ones. I have had my share of bad learning environments along with good ones, and I will get to those stories in a little bit. Overall, I believe that teachers are a major influence on how their students develop confidence when entering a new grade level. Orchestra was always a class I knew I would learn a lot from. We learned to work together as partners, share our books and also how to learn from our mistakes. For example, my teacher would make us play the G major scale; if we did not get it in tune, we would do it over again till it was in tune. He’d tell us to practice, give us tips on how to play the piece better, and he would also make it very enjoyable to learn violin. I felt so happy in that class; he always gave us something to look forward to. In George Orwell’s piece Why I Write, he talks about how he learned to write and how he progressed to be the writer he was. In his writing he said, “I cannot say with certainty which of my motives are the strongest, but I know which of them deserve to be followed.” Just like the way Orwell feels about writing, I knew that orchestra was a subject I had to pursue. On certain days he would challenge us; he gave us a piece he knew we couldn’t play just yet. But he would have us play it until we got it, or at least try to play it. In The Perils and Promises of Praise by Carol S. Dweck, she states that, “students believe that their

Rincon 2

intellectual ability is something they can develop through effort and education.” I agree that as learners, when we are faced with a challenge we should try our best and learn from mistakes. That was what we were learning in my orchestra class. Our teacher in orchestra class helped us build this confidence that with hard work and effort, you can learn a lot. In class he would encourage us to play like we have been playing for years; he would give us constructive feedback to help us play better. Because he helped us feel confident in our playing, we practiced and learned to play and love music of all sorts. I still challenge myself when it comes to practicing my violin and also many other different subjects. And even till this day, I take classes for music at Pasadena City College, and I take on the challenge of learning something new. Now let me tell you something about how I developed a “fixed” mindset when it comes to the subject of math. Having a fixed mindset is something Dweck described as not being a learner; you just do what you know. “School often gets more difficult in the 7th grade, grading becomes more stringent, and the environment becomes more impersonal.” This is another quote from Dweck’s piece that I know is true. When it was my 8th year, I entered the pre-algebra class. My teacher was strict and very stubborn; he had an accent that was difficult to understand. He was the worst experience in my learning history, I had nothing but I bad time in that class. He played favorites; only helping out those he felt needed it and leaving the rest of us in the dark. He hardly gave me the time of day, and when it came to grading, he was very strict about it. When lecturing he didn’t let us ask questions, and when I would ask a question he made me feel like it was unnecessary. When students would give him a hard time, he would simply send them over to the other class where the teacher would pay more attention to her students. I got sent over there

Rincon 3

once, but it was to do a make-up test. I saw the way she taught; she was engaging, helpful, understanding and I remember thinking to myself, “man, I wish I was in this class.” When I would get a bad score on my quizzes or test, He would never give me feedback on how to fix my problem nor even ask what is giving me the most trouble. In Didion’s Why I Write, she talks about her struggles with school, writing and life at certain points. In a paragraph talking about traveling and graduating she says, “All I knew then was what I couldn’t do. All I knew then was what I wasn’t, and I took me some years to discover what I was.” I felt like that, like couldn’t get through that class. I really disliked that class, it was really hard for me to get a grip of solving math problem and I felt like I would never understand it. By the end of the school year I was feeling very discouraged, I wasn’t ready for high school, I knew I would have to take that class again, but would I pass? I had it set in my mind that I would fail again in 9th grade, that I wasn’t smart enough to pass and I would be stuck in that class for a while. When I finally got to high school I was nervous about pre-algebra. I had a new teacher and I was afraid he would be the same way my last teacher was. I was wrong; he was different, he wanted us to understand every little detail to solve the math problem before we moved on to more challenging ones. He took the time to give us feedback on how to make it easier to put together the problem. He let us ask questions and if he knew we had a problem he would call us up to his desk to help us fix it. I never thought that I would pass the class but I did, I passed with a B. To go from a grade of a D- all the way to a B has to say something about how different these teachers are. I have had my share of a “growth” and “fixed” mindset through my education. I owe a lot of thanks to the teachers who gave me the time of day and helped challenge me to become a better student. I feel great about how much I have grown through the years in my education. Having a

Rincon 4

fixed mindset in the 8th grade; thinking I was going to fail and feeling that I wasn’t good enough at math was just horrible. I am glad that I overcame that experience and I hope I would not have to deal with that again. When I was reading Erin Gruwell’s Freedom Writers Diary, there was an entry that talked about getting to graduation and the changes they have been through in Gruwell’s class. It was diary 142 and they expressed this, “I guess we have more than just great experiences to be thankful for. I’m going to miss all those things, but I’m definitely going to miss most is our classroom, Room 203.” I know that certain classrooms in my life hold different experiences I will remember forever; they have affected my education in good and bad ways. Now that I am in college, I hope to make new memories and I don’t go based off of what I am good at when picking classes to take. I try to challenge myself by going for classes that will make me think for example physical anthropology. I will admit I was very nervous when I signed up for the STACC English program, but I had to remind myself that I need to let my mind grow and challenge my writing skills. My reading skills are not so great but I am going to try to learn new ways to get through a book like annotating or highlighting to help me remember main parts of a book. I am excited to meet and learn from new professors at PCC; so far all the professors I have had were and are very helpful, insightful and they are great at what they do. I hope that I never run into a professor that is like my math teacher that would be a nightmare. “It’s time to deliver interventions that will truly boost students motivation, resilience, and learning,” a quote from Dweck’s, who put in words in what, I believe, is true. And from the YouTube video, The Power of Belief, he says “Praise hard work,” I feel that all teachers or professors should practice this way of teaching.

Rincon 5

Works Cited Alexie, Sherman “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me” Briceño, Eduardo “The Power of Belief” YouTube, 2012 Didion, Joan “Why I Write” Dweck, Carol S. “The Perils and Promises of Praise” Gruwell, Erin “The Freedom Writers Diary” Published 1999, Broadway Books. Orwell, George. “Why I Write”