Student: Bilal Javed
Professor: Sarah Schmerler
My journey in English class started just as any other class. I was scared at my first day. I have never been good with English. Also, I never understood purpose of standard English essay. I was scared that I might get some professor who is really strict. On my first day I got surprised when I saw class formation as a circle. There was fire chimney video in the back with slightly soothing music in the background. It kind of calmed me down. I lacked confidence. In past classes I would just sit in the back without participating. I used to have fear what if I say something wrong and get criticized. But professor Schmerler sat in the circle with us. Seeing professor sitting with us calmed me down somehow. Our first assignment was to write without using word “the”. At first I thought it would be hard. But, when I got into it; I realized that I was thinking outside the box in writing. It felt good. Being tri-lingual, I have always had trouble with my vocabulary. I had 2 more assignments with restraints of ascending and descending respectively. For some reason these assignment of restraints made me feel confident about my vocabulary. Best thing about class was we all got to share our work with each other willingly and positive comments were encouraging too. This gave me confidence in speaking in all.
Dear professor, our first assignment was traditional essay on freedom. To be honest I have never liked traditional essays. Restraint assignments helped me write a better essay. Then we had to write a reflection. Which was new thing to me. But I liked that too. But professor Schmerler helped us through that too. I slacked off on this point and started to give up on English because of stress in other classes. I thought oh this class was going to be same as any English class. But my assumptions were clearly wrong. I am glad that I followed through.
Unit two of our class was about genres. Our first assignment was to write something that we love but as a recipe. I would be completely honest in the beginning; I was like whatttt! That does not make any sense. After I was done I became really happy. I felt like I had achieved a really high score in a video game. My skill was hiking. Not only I got to share that also, I had done it in a way that I have never done before. This was easy, but what followed it was a little challenging. I had to write it in any other genre. It was the most interesting assignment I had done for English. I wrote my skill as a flow chart. It took me a few tries to perfect that flowchart. Still this assignment was so interesting that I did it with my heart. Professor schmerler and samples from openlab.com helped during this time. By the time I was done I felt that I can write anything into any genre or form as long as I have knowledge about that genre. This assignment felt most useful to me. I am a nursing student being able to write comfortable in charts in necessary skill for me.
Third phase of this class was inquiry based paper; Otherwise known as research paper. I have never liked English research papers. I feel like we have to cruise through some irrelevant books to find just the type of information that our instructor requires. I have never been able to quiet grasp the point of that. I was scared to write research paper. This has been the only reason that I dropped my English 1121 class before. But professor Schmerler explained it in a way that made sense to me. she gave us to write a research paper on your skill but this time put forth concerns of someone else who is professional on your skill. What made it interesting was that it was my skill that I had to use in life. But what hard was reading the arguments of other people on skill I think I am best at. Then, professor Schmerler explained the importance of reading. She said we underestimate power of reading. Sure enough, she was right. As I looked through articles about hiking and its impacts and precautions. I got to learn a lot of new things. For instance, I had no idea that there is a register at beginning of hikes that we had to log in before hiking. In this assignment Jelani, Muaz and professor Schmerler’s work sheet helped a lot.
4th phase of this class was really interesting. When I got this assignment, I was so glad that I become part of this experimental class. For the first time I was interested to be in English class. We had to transform our research into a 21st century technological way. Me, Muaz and Jelani choose to do a news cast. Which took a few tries to make. But the skills we had acquired through unit 2 of this class helped through it. Overall my journey in this class was most interesting. This helped me to actually gain some knowledge that was useful in everyday life as well as professional life. I hope they continue this way of teaching. So, other students can get to learn what I have learned. I would recommend professor Schmerler to everyone. She is best English professor that I have come across.