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Megan Norton Education and Society Professor Barber 10/10/12 Education Autobiography My education started with kindergarten at Winthrop

Elementary School, for only my older sister Jen was placed into preschool. From what I remember from kindergarten, it was pretty great. I got to have naps, and my teacher Mrs. Little was the best. However, she soon left the school to babysit my future third grade teachers baby. After that came first grade, my least favorite. Why? My teacher Mrs. Hurwitz was not the most kindly woman in the world. She yanked my pigtail because I turned a page ahead. I have had a grudge against her ever since. Also, every time I see her now, she does not remember who I am. Then again, maybe that is a good thing. Along came second grade with Mr. Oginski where I met my lifelong friend, Alessia. We bonded over things like Harry Potter and play-doh. People would make fun of her for her eyebrows, but I stood up in front of everyone and said, Hey! Shes my friend! and promptly sat down feeling quite proud of myself. Second grade is also when I learned how to pronounce the capital of Maine since I guess Augoosta was incorrect. I then moved up to third grade and had Mrs. Orlofski, which was nice. The only thing I remember is my teacher not wanting me to go to Disney because I would miss a couple days of school. The funny thing is, I would return my senior year of high school to be her intern. Fourth grade with Mr. Oats was next. I remember nothing about my fourth grade experience, except for all the girls wanted to have him as a teacher because they thought he was cute. Fifth grade was so incredible it deserves its own paragraph. Fifth grade was probably the highlight when it came to my elementary years. I was the oldest in the building, I had the best teacher, I got a foreign exchange student, and I got to go

to E-Camp with my fifth grade class. Mr. Cyr was easily the coolest man alive. He had a different tie for every day of the school year. If he were caught wearing the same one, he would have to give the class a pizza party. Mr. Cyr also tricked us into thinking we were about to take the Ben Franklin Gates Test, when we were actually going to watch The BFG. My math teacher Mrs. Harris probably saved me from a lifetime of confusion. I was staying after for help one day in multiplication. I showed her the answers I had come up with and she looked puzzled and asked me what I had done. I redid the problem in front of her. She then informed me that I was doing multiplication backwards. All these years no teacher had pointed that out to me before so I did not understand why my math grades were not as well as my English. My teachers also gave me the chance to house a foreign exchange student. As I soon found out, these exchange students were not people at all, but ping pong balls. The back story to this project was that the Winthrop was receiving some foreign exchange students from the planet Pong. Obviously this is make-believe, but to a fifth grader, it sounded legit. Our assignment was to house our ping pong balls, name them, and keep a journal to record what activities we did with them. I was very creative in naming my ball Ping. I gave her brown hair and a straw hat so she would look at me. I had the frightening experience of leaving her in a grocery store by accident. Thankfully, when I rushed back to the store, Ping was still sitting on the bench unharmed. Soon following the end of this assignment, all fifth graders were required to watch The Movie. This was something all elementary students dreaded when they became this old. Older kids would talk about it like an urban legend or scary story. The Movie was about puberty and where babies came from. I cannot say that I learned a lot from this movie. All I remember is getting a toothbrush. By the time that this was over, spring came. This only meant one thing to a fifth grader: E-Camp.

E-Camp was the best adventure of my elementary experience. I have no idea where they took us, all I know is that it was in the woods and I stayed in a cabin. They boarded all of us on Coach Buses and off we went. I was glad I got to stay in a room with my twin Chelsea and Alessia; otherwise I do not know what I would have done. They were my rocks. E-Camp was full of sing-alongs and bracelet making. I remember making ice cream with a counselor named Dougie Fresh and letting Alessia lead me through the woods blindfolded. I most vividly remember the Underground Railroad. It was dark and raining. The counselors treated us like we were slaves on a plantation by yelling at us and making us pick crops. They ordered us into a barn and when the counselors left, a teacher showed up and played the part of Harriett Tubman. The teacher lead us through the forest quickly under a tarp so that the guards would not catch us. I then remember being lead into a greenhouse and hiding under a bench where I heard yelling and then the sound of a gunshot. No one really was shot, but it still startled me. Once everything died down, the teacher told us that we were safe and gave us a huge Fig Newton. At the end of our week away from home, we were gathered onto the buses once more a returned home. After fifth grade came the start of middle school, which I am only going to talk about seventh grade since everything else about it was horrid. Seventh grade was the only shining moment I had in middle school. My teacher, Ms.Shute was the person that got me into poetry. This easily changed my life. I also met my good friends Susannah and Hannah in this grade, and I am still friends with them today, but back to poetry. Ms. Shute had us compile a poetry portfolio. My favorite poems to write were prose, and they still are today. When December came, I had the misfortune of experiencing my first loss. His name was Paul and he had been a family friend for years. To make a long story short, Paul died of lung and bone cancer. Paul had requested to see us December 8, 2007. The vision of

him in the hospital bed still haunts me to this day. After we said our goodbyes and returned home, I decided to write a poem to express how I felt. It was called Cancer. The day after we saw Paul, we got a call from his wife Gina. Paul had passed away in the night. It was as if he knew that he were going to die and wanted to see us all one last time. This impacted me greatly and influenced my writing. My poems focused on dark topics such as death. I guess it became a coping mechanism. My passion for poetry continued into eighth grade and then into high school, where my love for creative writing truly took flight. This was also when I would meet a teacher that would ultimately affect my whole life. Ms. Kappel was and still is the best teacher I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Her lesson plans never failed to be interesting and engaging and her sense of humor dominated. For my freshman year of high school, I had her first thing in the morning, which was both a blessing and a curse. I got to eat breakfast in her class and would always start the day on a good note, however, that meant the rest of the day I would have nothing to look forward to. The first writing we received was something that she repeated each year I had her. We had to bring in an object and explain why we brought it (show and tell). We then had to pick one object out of everyones in the class and write a story about it. The class had everything from stuffed animals to model rockets, which made for a diverse group of stories. I wrote mine about a stuffed monkey named Abey my friend Hannah brought in. I do not remember what the story was about though. Ms. Kappel would also show a movie to go along with each topic we covered. For instance, when we did poetry we watched Dead Poets Society and for mysteries we watched Clue. There was never a dull moment in her class. I detested when she was not there because the assignment she left was boring: read Teen Ink and pick an article that you liked or disliked and explain why. My

freshmen and sophomore years of high school just melted away. It was not until my junior year that things got interesting. By my junior year, Ms. Kappel was given the duty of running the schools literary magazine The Thistle. Since she knew that I was passionate about the subject, she appointed me and my friend Sean head editors. This was our title, but we did so much more than that. It was our responsibility to read every submission, rate it on a scale of one, two, or three, hand back the ones that needed to be edited, find artwork for the magazine, organize the pieces both literary and artwork, and find a publisher we could afford. While doing this, Ms. Kappel suggested that I look into the Emerson Summer Creating Writing Program. With her assistance, I was able to create a portfolio and essay stating why I should be accepted. We were hard at work on my application and The Thistle by the time mid-year exams came up, but this was when things took a turn for the worst. It was January and the class was working on plays, except Sean and I were continuing our work on The Thistle. We met in the classroom before heading to the library to continue working when Ms. Kappel said she had an announcement. She said that she would not be returning next year. She had gotten accepted into the London School of Economics, which she had applied to on a whim. When those words came out of her mouth, it felt like all the air had been sucked out of the room. I felt my heart clench and tears come to my eyes. I quickly wiped them away and congratulated her, even though I was miserable. We went to the library and I saw Sean, he had missed the announcement because he was late. I saw his face fall when she delivered him the news, but no one was as heartbroken as me. When I got to lunch, I sat at a table and let all my emotions come flowing out. For the past three years, she helped me define my passion and I had just been given the news I was accepted into Emersons program. This was

supposed to be my defining moment, but it was not. I could not come back next year and tell her how it all went because she would be gone. It is because of this woman that I was inspired to become a teacher. Ms. Kappel showed me that it is possible to have fun and learn at the same time and I want to provide that for other students, my students. After she left, it was up to me to help her replacement, Mr. Edgerton. Mr. Edgerton was a wonderful person, but he was not quite as talented as a teacher as Ms. Kappel. There were some instances where he had to turn to me for help on certain subject matter like screenplays since I had taken a course about it at Emerson. He also referred to the binder Ms. Kappel had left him full of old worksheets and prompts. It was clear to me he had never taught a creative writing class before. One of the assignments he had given us was to write a novel in a month. It was at this point I decided this man was crazy. I was a senior in high school, applying to colleges, dealing with the college essay, be head editor of The Thistle, and he expected me to write a novel in a month. Safe to say I was not the only one who did not come close to completing this task. Luckily, our grades did not suffer because of it. Sean decided not to take creative writing this year, so I had to work on the Thistle solo. It eventually was completed. I also trained a freshman to take the reins since I would not be around to help. I think it is in capable hands. Since this is getting quite lengthy, I am going to wrap it up with my last quarter of high school. I did not spend my last quarter of high school in high school, but elementary school. I was given the opportunity to intern with my third grade teacher, Mrs. Orlofski. I greeted the class of twenty-seven bright second graders (she moved down a level since I had her). It did not take long for Mrs. Orlofski to take full advantage of my presence. My list of duties included: setting up for open house, walking the kids to lunch, writing their morning work on the board, moving

seats, setting up the tables for science labs, making activities for the students to use in their learning experience, creating board games, helping the students with their reading and writing, organizing the class library, organizing the students assessments by reading level, watching them at recess, reading them stories (one of which I wrote myself), and creating clocks for them to use when they were learning about time. There was never a dull day in the classroom and I go back to visit my students to see how they are doing (they asked me to do so). Each time I see them I am greeted with a hug and excitement. Even though I enjoyed my students, this grade level is too hyper for me to handle. At the end of this wonderful experience, I finally got to graduate high school. I sat next to Chelsea at graduation and it felt surreal; all these years of wondering if it would even be over and it finally was. I looked out into the bleachers and saw the smiling faces of my friends and family. However, I knew one thing was missing. I knew when I walked across that stage, my Latin teacher would be handing me my diploma, but that was not who I had pictured it being three years ago. I really wanted Ms. Kappel to be there, but with her being away at school, she was unable to make it to this event. I knew she was there in spirit though. I walked across that stage and had never been more proud of myself. I had not only graduated, but with honors. I had achieved honor roll 8/8 quarters in my junior and senior year of high school. Soon, I would be walking onto a college campus to try and have the same academic accomplishment. I know I am just starting out, but I have a feeling that I will make my goal.