Online english renews desire to write


Salma Alamin

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Josiah Anderson, Staff Writer

Starting in kindergarten, schools drill the basic subjects into the heads of their students. Math is taught starting with simple addition, and by the eighth grade, schools expose students to several branches of math, from pre-algebra to geometry. Likewise, in science, students start with the basics of a simplistic water cycle and cloud types, but by eighth grade are learning astronomy and the basics of biology. Yet, when it comes to English, schools fall short. Instead of introducing newer, increasingly challenging and complex concepts to complement the age of the students, schools seem to repeat the same idea again and again until students are bored out of their minds and, in my case, despise writing. 

Problems arose from this repetitive system, and I found myself stuck inside the rigorous cycle of authorship that was narrative, informative or persuasive. Each piece was the same as past years, simply with slightly raised expectations and slightly altered teaching that introduced a new transition word or two. Somewhere in the cycle, my passion for writing dissolved, resulting in spending English class in any way I could that wasn’t writing. Whether it was sneaking peeks at my phone or reading one of the Sarah Maas books I loved so much. I employed every method I knew possible to dodge writing yet another plot map.

It reminded me that writing doesn’t have to be a chore assigned by teachers to rinse and repeat with each passing year. It can be full of life, passion and enjoyment for all to experience and love. 

By the time I reached the end of the seventh grade, I was done with regular English class and wanted a way out, to read and write about something, anything, new and interesting. Fortunately, in eighth grade, a new online English class was offered. The concept felt strange at first, to enter a room and do everything via iPad with a teacher who sat at their own device, in a separate location, interacting through email and Schoology. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a shot, perhaps because of the lingering memory of my fifth-grade writing class and how my teacher made the cycle fun through humor and music, oftentimes paired together. In doing so, I found myself on a journey that continues to this day, one of excitement and joy when the opportunity to write arises. 

“Online English” was the name for the class, but inside of said class, there were many sub-courses. I took two, one called creative writing and the other called mythology and folklore, enjoying both and learning a plethora of new ideas in the process. Creative writing mainly taught the “how” of writing creatively and uniquely while still incorporating the technical aspects of correct grammar and proper English. Mythology and folklore had more to do with the histories of past writings and lore of different cultures throughout the world over an extended period of time. Through this class, I learned of new concepts and thoughts that I hadn’t heard expressed in such a way before.

English was once again interesting, as it had been in the early years of elementary school when I could write stories about the elephant I swore I saw on the way to school, or about the time I fell and skinned my knee. It reminded me that writing doesn’t have to be a chore assigned by teachers to rinse and repeat with each passing year. It can be full of life, passion and enjoyment for all to experience and love.

That online English class certainly rekindled that passion, and I still carry it with me today, writing in my free time, and dreaming of far away lands, only to pencil them down in the middle of class when the itch to write presents itself. Even still, the frustration I experienced in the time spanning from kindergarten to seventh grade reminds me that writing is full of unique styles and interpretations and makes me truly thankful for the opportunity to break the chain. For when writing loses originality, it loses meaning and becomes a pain rather than an opportunity, and for this reason, online English revitalized the value of writing in my heart and mind.

School has become a time-consuming string of activities, from different courses, to after-school clubs and topped off brilliantly with a load of homework for the time I’m away from the building. Still, when I have the opportunity, and the constant pressure of school is relieved from my mind, I enjoy sitting down and writing. Time is limited, and every moment should be spent doing the things one enjoys. For me, the thing I enjoy is writing, a fact I forgot while lost in the monotonous English curriculum, and thus a class I had never even known existed, became the catalyst for my future school career. It propelled me out of my comfort zone and the confines of cyclical learning, launching me into something far better, a passion for writing.