Literacy: “The quality or state of being literate, especially the ability to read and write (Oxford English Dictionary 2017).” At one point in our lives, we were not literate, but as we grew up and attended school and experienced life, we became literate. Two people who played an essential role in ensuring I become literate are Mrs. Edmunds, my seventh grade English teacher, and Mr. Tullis, my Advanced Placement Language Arts teacher in junior year, high school. I learned the basics of writing under Mrs. Edmunds. Therefore, I could read and write. Mr. Tullis, taught me that if I want to be a good writer, I should be passionate and make my writing personal. I will forever be thankful to these two people as it is through their efforts that I am literate.
I had limited experience as a writer before seventh grade. In Mrs. Edmunds, I found the instructor I had been waiting to meet. Any middle school teacher could have taught me the fundamentals of writing, but it clave with Mrs. Edmund, and I loved being her student. My first essay in her class took much longer than it should have; my want in essay writing skill ran deep, and afterward, it was only a source of continual frustration. It was not just me. However, an immense cloud of perplexity had hung over the entire class over essay writing, and Mrs. Edmund was not slow to catch on. She used this as an opportunity to steer us in the right direction. She wanted to show us how it felt to write a formal essay when none of us knew how to. She began with the simple but essential steps in essay writing. She taught the class how to make and adequately organize an outline and write a thesis.
It may not sound like much, but to someone who had minimal writing experience, such as I, it was like that cold front when the summer heat finally breaks and you begin to believe that things may get better. However, it was not for Mrs. Edmunds to cultivate the love for the arts in me or to challenge my views on writing. It allowed her to guide me towards the open paths of literature. It never happened suddenly, or more allegorically, it took time. One great moment was when a high light went up, and I sprang from my bedroom floor, or a hat dropped, and abruptly I was in love with literature. It naturally did not happen the way I expected. It took a persevering effort to speak out in such enamoring terms about it as I do now. The two fundamental skills, thesis writing and having a clear outline, are skills I now possess and will utilize in pursuing my career in writing.
I became close with Mrs. Edmund from the start of my school year. By luck or coincidence, I still had her as my English teacher in my eighth grade. Not being the best writer in the class, I put in the hard work, and Mrs. Edmund saw my dedication through the assignments I was doing. In our final lesson in junior school, right before graduation, she called me and advised that I should consider signing up for AP Language Arts in high school as I had the potential of being right. I signed up for AP Language Arts, and that is how I met Mr. Tullis, who is my second mentor. On the first day in class, I remember Mr. Tullis stating that “In this class, there is no ‘bad’ writing; all writing is writing.” These views are like those of Wardle, who indicates in her book that writing is an art that is meant to connect people. I support her sentiments as when we write something that connects with other people, people will appreciate the piece of work. Our first task was to write two pages of work on any topic. Mr. Tullis wanted to show us we were writers, and he tried to gauge our writing style and creativity. In one exciting book I read, Bradbury, the writer, indicates that writing should flow and should not be forced. Mr. Tullis shared similar sentiments and always suggested that we should let our minds wander when writing, and the experience should be like riding a bicycle. Through Mr. Tullis, we learned better how to write, which is not to write well-formatted, grammatically correct, strongly worded essays, but articles with creativity. Through his guidance, I learned how to infuse my personality into my writing. Mr. Tullis is the only language arts teacher who had a similar teaching style and writing preference as Mrs. Edmunds.
The experiences and lessons from my two sponsors have shaped me into the writer I am today. Now, as a college student, I do more writing than I have done before. I now enjoy writing, and my formal or informal communication with other people has improved. I can draft a great email and text the right message to other people. These two people shaped me by teaching me how to write, and I apply the lessons I learned from them in my day-to-day writing. While others might consider writing a disaster, I find it comfortable and enjoyable and am profoundly honored to have had them in my life.
I love how writing at the college level has become less structured, making them less demanding as compared to those we had in high school. It has made my writing experience more enjoyable as I can now personalize my work. While it was an instruction in high school not to use first-person pronouns such as ‘I’ or ‘Me’ in writing, I can now use them. As taught, the first-person pronouns made writing look unprofessional, but the university has shown me that this does not have to be necessarily correct. As Platt indicates, there is no luck in writing; one should put in the hard work and make mistakes that one can be able to note and avoid in their writing with time.
Writing is now part of my everyday life, and it will continue to be a tool that I will use for the rest of my life. I will change the techniques I am using now to improve my writing in the coming years. One change I can note was that in middle school and high school, my writing was formal, and I used the third person in my writing, but that has now changed. Now, I can be writing formally using the first-person pronoun and with less direction. After I graduate from college, I will not have class assignments, but I will be required to write in one way or another. Presently, a day will not pass before I compose a text, write an email or do assignments in school and this is all writing and being the writer I am today. I couldn’t be good if it were not for the efforts of my two sponsors, Mrs. Edmunds and Mr. Tullis. I would call them my “literacy sponsors” and forever be grateful to them for shaping and influencing me to be a good writer.