W1, #1: YOUR 10-MONTH VISION

Set-Up: So often a teacher starts the academic year by stating his/her goals for the class. Rarely, however, is a student asked to identify goals of his/her own (esp. since you a student ‘has to’ take the class. Let’s change the traditional game a bit so that I can keep an eye on ways to design this class to serve you as an individual (both in and out of school).

Challenge: Please identify (5) goals (or hopes) you have for ENG 10 that start with the following:

  • “As a writer over the next 10 months, I want to be able to…”
  • “As a thinker (in class conversations & in private) over the next 10 months, I want to be able to…”
  • “As a student-in-general over the next 10 months, I want to be able to…”
  • “As a human being over the next 10 months, I want to be able to…”
  • Bonus: something completely unexpected you want me to know about that may be of value to your presence in this class over time and my ability to help you succeed/learn.

Length: 1 sentence (min) for each goal, but I’m far more interested in the ‘quality’ of your explanation than counting sentences.

Hint: The more specific you are, the more I can customize things over time.

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28 responses to “W1, #1: YOUR 10-MONTH VISION

  1. To become a better writer, I want to be able to express my ideas fluently and in an organized manner. Also, I want to be able to think from many different angles of a topic. This will probably help me in future courses to come. As a student-in-general, I want to be able to use technology better, such as this blog . Honestly I have never entered a blog entry, and it gives me a better way to communicate and discuss certain topics. As a human being, I want to be able to not be decieved by appearances. I always had a problem with judging a book by its cover and this class will give me a better understanding for looking at perceptions.

  2. Student #1 (part 2)

    As for the name of this blog cite, I believe Mr.Long used such a name because we as a class are the “Alice”, and Mr.Long is that rabbit we are following, or the Cheshire cat with all the answers. We are following down a rabbit hole into a world of different perceptions and twists on how we normally view the world.

    ***

    from Mr. Long: An interesting premise, my friend. Looking forward to hearing what your classmates have to say about your response, as well as any other ideas they may have.

  3. As a writer I want to make sure writer’s block does not hinder my writing. I have no trouble writing on things that have been on my mind for weeks or days, but I want to be able to write on the spot. As a thinker I want to beable to express my thought more readily and open up my mind. As a student I want to make good grades and decisions. As a human being I want to apply new found skills of deep thinking and having an open mind in dealing with others. I really believe that this class will help me work with others value their opinions as much as I value mine.

  4. As a writer over the next 10 months, I want to be able to improve my ability to, not only write well, but to also be able to appreciate what the ability to write does. It helps us express our thoughts and opinions in a unique way that nothing else can emulate.

    As a thinker over the next 10 months, I want to be able to take pride in my own opinions about subjects that are presented and to be open minded about what others think about my opinion. If they criticize or don’t like the way I think then I want to be able to respect their opinions and not react in a defensive way.

    As a student-in-general over the next 10 months, I want to be able to set a higher standard for my own expectations, not only to improve my performance as a student overall, but it will also help me be successful in life in general if I’m able to deal with every situation that I encounter with a positive mind set.

    As a human being over the next 10 months, I want to be able to have an open mind and see the other side in things. If I can put myself in another person’s shoes then I will be able to understand them a whole lot more than if I was just focused entirely on myself. So I want to have the ability to consider the feeling and opinions of others instead of making myself the center of attention of my own thoughts.

    Bonus: One thing about me that may create a value in my presence is the fact that I always finish what I start. If I’m assigned anything, be it a project or homework then I guarantee that I’ll always complete it on time and never slack off. I may complain about certain things, but who doesn’t once in awhile?

    ***

    from Mr. Long: First of all, I really appreciate that you didn’t just do the minimum by sticking to the (1) sentence response so you could get in/get out as fast as possible. By taking time to explain your statements, you give the reader a reason to invest in you. Ultimately the quality of our word choices define the value of our writing, but you can never fault someone for being committed to their ideas by developing beyond what might be a simple statement at first. BTW, this is a great line (and one I won’t forget): “I want to be able to improve my ability to, not only write well, but to also be able to appreciate what the ability to write does.” You definitely grabbed my attention! Love the “pride in my ideas” point, too.

  5. – As a writer over the next 10 months, I want to be able to properly convey my thoughts and ideas to others. I want to be able to get my point across in a way that is both intersting and easy to understand.
    – As a thinker over the next 10 months, I want to be able to have a completely different point of view. I want to find new ways to look at everything and discover things that I never would have noticed before.
    – As a student- in- general over the next 10 months, I want to be able to improve my time management and not get as overwhelmed with all of my classwork.
    – As a human being over the next 10 months, I want to be able to avoid contadicting myself. I want to make sure that the things about others that I feel are negative, are not present in me.
    – My dream is to go to college in NYC for journalism so I know this class is going to really help me develop as a writer.

    ***

    by Mr. Long: First, I love this comment of yours: “I want to find new ways to look at everything and discover things that I never would have noticed before.” Hold onto that! Second, remind me to introduce you to one of my past students (I had him for 9th grade English in ’95/’96) with regards to your Columbia/NYC/journalism dream. Maybe we can invite him to do a Skype video chat this year so you can literally meet him face-to-face (at least via computers). He — like you — dreamed of something similar early on in high school. He started out volunteering at a local newspaper (in Ohio) in the summers before he graduated, trying to pen simple articles that ‘might’ one day get in that local paper. Along the way, I intro’d him to a buddy of mine who wrote for ESPN and also Sports Illustrated, who he was able to do a short one-on-one internship for for 2 weeks his 12th grade year. In college he managed to get several free and low-paying internships at some magazines (including The Source because he had a passion for hip-hop/rap). Currently he’s working for the NYTimes and has articles of his published on their web site. In other words, your dream is possible, and there it is never too early to begin exploring ways to get there. I have a few ideas. Come talk to me. Let’s see if we can begin to help you get creative on a couple of levels.

  6. -As a writer over the next ten months I want to be able to communicate my thoughts in an intelligent manner. I would like those that read my work to be able to grasp my true thoughts and feelings no matter the length of the piece. I enjoy reading works where I am truly in the moment because the author put me there as if we have some kind of connection. I hope to one day create this connection with readers of my work.
    -As a thinker over the next ten months I want to be able to contribute thoughts and ideals that are truly important to the conversation and not just shallow statements. I hope that my ability to think beyond the obvious meaning of something will strengthen. Also I will make an effort to think of things in terms of the big picture and not over analyze to the point of no return.
    -As a student in general over the next 10 months I want to be able to be calm about assignments and tests and quizzes. I believe if I can calm my ever present nerves that I’m not going to do well then I will be a better student in all aspects of my schoolwork.
    -As a human being over the next ten months I want to be able to have clearer direction in reference to my future past high school. By the end of this year I truly hope that I will have a better idea as to what I want to do with my life and how I would like to contribute to the world. I do have some ideals concerning my future but approaching junior year I would feel much more comfortable if I was just a little surer.
    -Bonus: – I am not set on any one major for my college career but I am very interested in the government, as well as history and drama. I know that any major I choose I will need to be a great writer and also I will need to be a strategic thinker. I believe being able to think about a situation and express your views at strategic moments is such a great skill, I hope at one point be capable of. I would like to improve in all areas of thinking and writing throughout this class to increase my chances for success in the future.

    ***

    from Mr. Long: Interesting line: “…Also I will make an effort to think of things in terms of the big picture and not over analyze to the point of no return.” Reminds me of pilots who fly to the ‘South Pole’. Traditionally there has been a mid-way point on the flight where the pilot had to decide if the rest of the trip would be successful. They had limited fuel, so once they cross that mid-way point, it was either land at their final destination or turn-around and get home. If they made a mistake, they would be doomed to put their lives at risk. This decision moment was traditionally called the “point of no return”. It has been used as a title of a really cool French film about a female spy/assassin that was re-made in English 15+ years ago — highly rec it if you have a free weekend.

  7. As a writer, over the next 10 months, I want to acquire the ability to influence people through my words. I want to be able to catch a person’s attention with the first sentence and hold it until the last sentence. I believe these skills are extremely important for a writer and that they could help a person succeed in any career they have chosen.

    As a thinker, over the next 10 months, I want to be able to understand subtleties that are hidden everywhere and in everything. I want to be able to understand the deeper meaning behind why a writer uses a certain word or why the people in a work of art are manipulated in a certain way. I want to be able to see the deeper meaning in all of these things in order to better understand what they are supposed to be telling me.

    As a student-in-general, over the next 10 months, I want to be able to have an intelligent conversation over anything that I will learn during the next 10 months. I believe that it is important to talk about what you have learned and understand it, not just memorize it. Being able to recite words from a book means nothing in the real world, but understanding why and how will actually help you succeed past the spring final and during the rest of your life is important.

    As a human being, over the next 10 months, I want to be able to see both sides of any argument and understand where other people are coming from. I want to be able to see why another person has said something and what led them to this conclusion which will give me the ability to better understand them in order to better help them or manipulate them.

    Bonus: I do not really see myself as majoring in English in college, becoming a writer, or going into a career where writing and literature will be relevant to me, but I know that it is necessary in succeeding past college and it is necessary to get anywhere in life. I do work hard and I want to learn for my own benefit. I will try and do whatever is necessary to learn and do well in this class.

    ***

    from Mr. Long: Loved seeing this comment right out of the gate: “I want to acquire the ability to influence people through my words. I want to be able to catch a person’s attention with the first sentence and hold it until the last sentence.” Your statement gets to the heart of everything we’ll be working on as writers/thinkers/speakers this year, so hopefully we’ll give you the support you need to pull this off on your terms. Also, I’m glad that you made the point you did in the ‘bonus’ section. While it is technically an ‘English’ class and we do work on the obvious bits (analyzing literature, writing, vocab, etc), the real truth is that this class is far more about developing ‘logic’ and understanding how our audience (whether one reading our work or a future client/business partner) understands the way we express what matters most to us.

  8. As a writer over the next ten months I want to be able to achieve the ability to write eloquently and intelligently. I want to be able to captivate people when I write something. I want to be able to hold their interest from the beginning to the last letter on the page. Though writing is not the field I hope to go into (I don’t even know what I want to do anymore) I truly do enjoy doing it when it’s not strictly academic. By that I mean writing in history class isn’t something I enjoy, because it’s not so much a story as a lot information. I also want to be more creative in my stories, and be able to weave my sentences together to make it sound the best it possibly can.

    As a thinker over the next ten months, I want to be able to look at things and people and see so much more than what they appear to be. I try to now, but I can never find what’s there. I really believe in seeing the other side of things, in finding every angle, empathizing, and walking in the shoes of other people. (This is slightly unrelated, but that’s why Wicked is one of my favorite books. I love it, have you read it?) In addition to having more discipline (for lack of a better word) in those concepts, I want to become imaginative enough and creative enough to write well, speak well, and see everything from all 360 degrees.

    As a student in general over the next ten months,I want to develop a stronger work ethic and passion for what I do. In doing this, I would love to be good at whatever it is that I’m doing. My goal is to impress my teachers at least once with something that I do.

    As a human being over the next ten months, my greatest desire is to get to know myself better. As I mentioned before, I have no idea what I want to do with my life anymore. I would love to find something I’m passionate about and run with it. The next time somebody asks me write something interesting about myself on a quiz, I want to be able to give something that is legitimately intriguing and that I am genuinely proud of. I grew up a lot over the past year, but I still have a long way to go. I know my heart better, but I would like to explore the depths of my mind as well. I hope that if I can know myself better, I can embrace other people more. I absolutely love people and I want to be the best person I can be to everybody that comes into my life. Whether it be you, my best friend, the president, or the cashier at the 7-11.

    Bonus- I think that most of what I want out of this class I have already mentioned. The only thing I ask is that I want to improve on these blog entries and other things I do for you, so please let me know how I can improve throughout the year. I want to learn more than anything. Also, I know that you were talking about how we should underline, circle, and highlight things in the books we read. I’m not exactly sure on how we know what/when to underline, so if sometime you could explain that to me in full I would really appreciate it so I can get the best out of what I read.

    ***

    from Mr. Long: Personally, I believe the world would be a far healthier place if we were all capable of doing this: “I want to become imaginative enough and creative enough to write well, speak well, and see everything from all 360 degrees.” This — I believe — should be the challenge we ALL take on throughout the course of the year — me included — and beyond. BTW, we’ll work on this a lot together: “Also, I know that you were talking about how we should underline, circle, and highlight things in the books we read. I’m not exactly sure on how we know what/when to underline, so if sometime you could explain that to me in full I would really appreciate it so I can get the best out of what I read.” And you’ll develop new techniques that will work over time, too. Finally, if this response is an indication of ‘who’ you are and ‘how’ you’ll work this year, you have nothing to worry about over the next 10 months. I look forward to watching your evolution and being part of your audience. P.S. I have Wicked, but sadly I gave up on it 1/2 way through about a year ago. Loved the concept (still do) of the story and how the witch was seen from a different point of view, but the writing style just didn’t click with me for whatever reason. I kept it on my reading table for 6 months hoping I’d eventually change my mind; I never did. That being said, I have run into many people who adore it (and the musical that followed) just like you! Finally — something only you’ll understand — I did notice that you made the change. I think it’ll serve you well over time. Thanks for letting me know.

  9. -As a writer I want to be able to find the meaning behind the words I write. I would also love to be able to write on the spot, as Student #2 said. I believe I can write easily about things I am passionate about, but not so easily about things others ask me to write about. I would also love to be able to express my thoughts in a organized manner, not just utter chaos.
    -As a thinker I would love to be able to look at writing from the author’s point of view. I would also love to be able express my thoughts in mannerly way in my own writing.
    -As a student, I want to be able to handle the amount of work I am given in a organized way. I also want to be able to use what I learn in this class in my other classes, and be able to express my opinions, and listen to others with an open mind.
    -As a human being I want to be confident in what I write, I don’t want to second guess or doubt myself. I would also love to be able to look at everything in life, and see every person’s point of view before judging.
    -When I graduate, I would love to go to a school where I can study international business. I plan on studying abroad for a semester, or more possibly a year to help expand my experiences.

    ***

    from Mr. Long: Terrific point to share with others: ” I believe I can write easily about things I am passionate about, but not so easily about things others ask me to write about.” This is something we’ll all wrestle with throughout the year, but ultimately it comes down to digging into a topic or question deep enough until we find a point where we literally ‘react’. It is at this point that we begin to discover what it means to be a writer and what it means to inspire an audience/reader, even if at first glance the topic may not have been central to our being/life. BTW: glad to see that you’re already thinking of studying abroad. It has a profound impact on the way you see the world…and yourself!

  10. As a writer over the next ten months, I want to be able to communicate more in my stories than what appears. I want to be able to pose more complicated and more ideogrammatic stories. I’m sorry to say that when watching The Matrix for the fifth time, I was one of the people who saw Neo stop the bullets and thought, “Wow, he can stop bullets!” instead of thinking, “Wow, he just conquered the ‘reality’ that the Matrix projected to its inhabitants by coming to terms with the fact that the Matrix is just an illusion, just like the idea of Samsara that is taught by Buddhists which states that the world we perceive as ‘real’ is just a projection of our own desires!”. Regrettably I only found that out after it was brought to my attention several months later that The Matrix was more than just The Matrix. As a thinker, I want to be able to go beyond what I immediately see or read in movies or books and find the story behind the story, so that great screenwriters like Sophia Stewart won’t have to worry about their intricate ideas being wasted on viewers like me.

    As a student in general, I don’t have any goals that I can achieve with the help of English in particular, my current goals as a student are based on common bad study habits that I just simply need to overcome. As a human being, I want to be able to broaden my view of the world and its inhabitants, and to grow better at just taking a step back and taking everything in.

    ***

    from Mr. Long: Based on what I’ve seen so far, your final statement will occur due to your innate curiosity; I see it every time you speak/write. BTW: thanks for leading me to Google Sophia Stewart and the obvious Matrix connection. Definitely have to check her out.

  11. As a writer over the next ten months, I want to be able to develop a more fluent writing style. I aspire to improve my vocabulary, both in terms of denotation and connotation. I want to capture my reader’s attention and keep them wanting to continue to read until they reach the end of my writing.
    As a thinker over the next ten months, I want to be able to think outside of the box, as a philosopher would. Sometimes I try to imagine infinity. I think of Zeno’s paradox and the Klein bottle.
    As a student over the next ten months, I want to be able to become a more independent thinker. I want to be able to focus on doing the right thing. Ultimately, I want be well-rounded, strive for a high GPA and get accepted to the college of my choice.
    As a human being over the next ten months, I want to be able to appreciate the importance of community service. By serving others, I will be able to lead and develop a sense of empathy for others. I look forward to being a happy person when I am an adult.
    Bonus: English is not my most favorite subject, but the first three day of your lectures lead me to believe that this class will be more than just an English class. I will start to use a part of my brain that I haven’t used before. I’m very glad that I don’t have just an average English teacher, but more of a teacher that will expand my ways of thinking. I shall trying my hardest to think more outside the box.

    ***

    from Mr. Long: I’m really pleased to hear that your view of the “English class” world is beginning to expand based on our first 3 days, and I simultaneously hope I can continue to share things with you/your classmates that keep you just as interested a year from now (if not throughout your lifetime). I’m a huge believer that English is a dream subject because it allows you to explore everything, esp. with regards to how you ‘express’ your best ideas/questions and how you help and ‘audience’ appreciate what comes to your mind. And as you well know, there is not a single subject on the planet that does not at some point have to be expressed through ‘writing’ at some point, so I feel pretty lucky to be able to spend my day in this world of writing, exploration, research, and debate, esp. when we can grab random topics (at first) and tie them together (in time). BTW, I love that you mentioned trying to imagine ‘infinity’. Pretty cool, IMHO.

  12. –As a writer over the next 10 months I want to be able to express and interpret a different prospective and viewpoint than the average writer. This involves getting my point across to the reader and to convey a message.

    –As a thinker over the next 10 months I want to be able to determine ways to see outside the obvious picture and to see the more detailed, complex, and strategic interpretations.

    –As a student over the next 10 months I want to be able to balance my classes and to improve my writing techniques and habits. As a student I also want to push myself more to achieve my full capabilities.

    –As a human being over the next 10 months I want to take what I learn from your class and use it in everyday activity. I also want to stay positive about things and not get discouraged about the complexity on things.

    –The discussions during class from even the first day of school opened my mind to discover things that were obvious but unnoticeable to me.

    –My challenge as a writer and student is, is that if you give me a free topic and no boundaries than I can write a good story line but my problem comes in when there’s boundaries and specific topics that I, the writer, am not familiar with. I am intrigued and curious on what this class can help me improve on and help me to grow as a writer, student, and person.

    –I believe that you, Mr.Long, picked the title and the story of Alice as a metaphor to our class. Alice went into a “wonderland” type of world beyond her horizons and expectations and that’s what you want us to achieve out of your class. You want us to go above and beyond and to think outside the standards like Alice.

    ***

    from Mr. Long: Love this statement of yours: “I want to be able to determine ways to see outside the obvious picture and to see the more detailed, complex, and strategic interpretations.” So pleased to know that even the first 3 days of class have been helpful for you in that matter, although I must admit we’ve only peeked at the possibilities…and the best part — you and your classmates speaking/debating — hasn’t even really begun yet. Stay tuned!

  13. As a writer over the next 10 months, I would like to be able to grasp the idea that writing effects every aspect of life no matter what your goals might be.

    As a thinker over the next 10 months, I would like to be able to explore literature in terms of why an author or poet might write what he writes.

    As a student-in-general over the next 10 months, I would like to be able to pick up a book and read without being told to do so.

    As a human being over the next 10 months, I would like to be able to develop a relationship with my friends and teachers that will last throughout my academic career.

    Bonus- I would like you to know that English is not my favorite class. Although I enjoy writing, discussing literature is not my favorite thing. Maybe through your teachings I can change my outlook on English. I also feel that I might struggle on blogging. If there is any tips or pointers on this subject please email me.

    ***

    from Mr. Long: Appreciate your request at the end; come find me sometime when class is not happening so we can brainstorm together. Perhaps the key to a) analyzing literature and b) blogging (as a writer) come down to the same thing: becoming comfortable seeing the ‘unexpected’ in what appears at first to be quite logical or even confusing. And also trusting your voice/instincts.

  14. As a writer over the next ten months I desire to have the ability to write more coeherent sentences and paragraphs. Usually I start off strong and by maybe the third or forth paragrahs my sentences become a jumbled mess that makes absolutely no sense. I want to be able to allow the reader to enjoy what I had written and not to feel the story/essay is boring, that they read it because it is relatively good not because they have to. I too enjoy creative writing, not acedemic. My only problem is that once I develop an idea, about half way I begin to have doubts and start all over about three times. This obviously takes time for me to start all over. Therefore, as a writer I hope that I can start a story/essay that is well developed and a good read the first time and to not constantly feel it is not up to par. Lastly as a writer (and as a human/thinker/student) i hope to gain the ability not to compare what I think or do to other people’s so much. I know as a writer and student people are silently comparing you to other writers and students plus it is important to read other people’s works and compare it to yours. Honestly though, I do it way too much and that is probably the reason I start over so many times.

    As a thinker over the next 10 months I would like to be able to not only look ‘skin deep’ but to look deep inside to find the real meaning. I want to be able to contribute good solid ideas to the group in order to better our/my prospections. I also would enjoy being able to have more creativness, if that is a word, and be able to see hidden meanings behind what the author has wriiten and contrubute my views to the classroom.

    As a general student over the next 10 months I hope to broaden my vocabulay so that in conversations in any subject I may sound more intellegent. Definetly one of my problems in english is sentence structure. Every teacher at least once has commented about my love of run-on-sentences. I would hope to lose this habbit and start writing sentences that, reading out loud I would not be forced to take several breaths. By far the most nerve racking aspect of your/any class is presenting/discussions. In case you couldn’t tell I am an extremely shy person,especially in class. Though everyone has to present and participate in discussions, none the less I embarassingly find myself having panic attacks at even the mention of presenting. In conclusion I hope to lose this fear of public speaking, which would benefit me, considering we have to present in almost every class.

    As a human I know in the long run English is important and am just wanting to learn all that I can so I may be successfull, not only in school but in life as well. I also would like to engage in an argument and be able to put my point accross so well that it is obvious I know what I am talking about. This class will also help me to see both sides of an opinion and not judge other people’s just as I would not want mine to be judged.

    Bonus: As I said before I do know that english is really important and I want you to know I am eager to learn as much as I can and am cofident you will teach it to me. But as you said this class is not only about direct English, but also about thinking and using logic. The qualities of being able to see the big picture and using logic to handle situations are good to know, no matter what field you go into.

    ***

    from Mr. Long: I’m really glad you addressed the issue of nerves/anxiety with regards to public speaking. I was literally terrified of speaking in front of class while in high school (which seems just a tad bit ironic given what I do for a living — he smiles)…so I do not take for granted the difficult nature of taking that leap of faith. We’ll work on it, some in general while in class and some of it we can do brainstorming together. The key — both to speaking and writing — is to trust the validity of your ideas/passion, while simultaneously realizing that your audience is more important than even you as the speaker/writer. Re: run-on sentences/paragraphs, we’ll definitely have a chance to work on that together, as well as the second-guessing issue. Don’t over-think drafts. The key is to write as much as you can early, then to be rigorous with the ‘knife’ of editing out what isn’t absolutely vital. Again, I’m glad you shared these ideas/concerns. You are not the only thinking this way, you can be sure. But the only way to develop the confidence is to take on the challenge. And you’re already doing that here!

  15. As a writer over next ten months, I need to improve my writing skill. My essay will be able to easy understand and add more vocabulary list.
    As a thinker over next ten months, I won’t just look at the skin of the thing. I realize that every thing gets there own meaning, not just the thing we can see.
    As a student over next ten months, I will like to finish my work and improve my English. I believe if I do my work, my English will be improved next ten months.
    As a human being next ten months, I will like to know what I am going to do in the future, do my best every day.
    Bonus: I will like to study chemistry that kind of stuff in college. I know that English is a tool to help me. So I hope I can learn what you teach and put it in my life.

  16. As a writer over the next ten months, I want to be able to expand my vocabulary. I would also like to increase the depth of my sentences by making them each mean more than just words put together to get my point across. I want the reader, you, to feel like it is something more then just a regular essay that is required to be written. I really would like to be able to put together strong theses as well as strong commentary to follow it up in order to prove to you that I do in fact know what I’m talking about.

    As a thinker over the next ten months, I want to be able to process the true meaning of your lectures and of the work assigned. I would like to be able to analyze what you are truly trying to reach when you do talk about things such as the poster on the wall with the people playing cards or the video we were shown of the band. I want to be able to connect all of these wild and crazy things with English, to see where you are coming from to help teach us a lesson. On the other hand, in general I would like to be able to think about what I have coming up that week or even the month. On a personal level, I would like to be able to manage my time and think ahead, not leaving things unfinished until the very last minute. But, overall I would really like to learn how to analyze our in class conversations as well as out of class, private ones, to where I can provide commentary that will help me get everything out of the discussion as possible.

    As a student-in-general over the next ten months, I want to be able to develop better time management. I hope to learn how to manage my time to where I am able to juggle athletics with all my school work. Many people say I’m crazy for doing all of the things I do, but I want to challenge myself to be the absolute best I can be. As a student I would like to be able to read books and assignments much quicker and be able to summarize what the overall meaning is instead of just re-writing exactly what the book says. I love to compare what I read to life itself and I hope to become a better writer as well. My main focus for the next ten months is to improve my time management skills and overall become a better student to prepare me for my junior year of high school, and in the long run, college.

    As a human being over the next ten months, I want to be able to become more responsible. Since I get my license this year, I will have much more responsibilities than I have previously had. I am going to have to help my parents with my little siblings and their activities. I also know that I will have to be responsible with my car and take good care of it. “Driving is a privilege, not a right,” is what my dad always tells me. So in order to keep that privilege I’m going to have to be extremely responsible. So back to the point, my goal for this school year as a human being is to become a more helpful and productive person. I enjoy all of the extra curricular activities I am involved in, but at the same time, I do know that my schoolwork takes priority. My goal for the long run, is to make my family proud of me and take each and every lesson and apply it to my life in order to become the absolute best person I can be.

    Bonus:
    I like how we do things that aren’t strictly English. I also am really excited about the computers in and everything we will get to do online.

  17. As a writer over the next 10 months, I want to be able to simply get better. I already see myself as a pretty good writer, but why stop improving, I want to maximize my potential until I hit the ceiling which may or may not be there. Let’s find out.

    As a thinker (in class conversations & in private) over the next 10 months, I want to be able to…I’m not sure, probably I want to be able to open my mind to the possibility that sometimes I’m not right. Now don’t get me wrong, when someone I respect as a thinker corrects me I take it. When someone I sometimes do not respect as a thinker which I should respect everyone, but that’s hard, when that person corrects me, I go into a mild state of denial that it happened.

    As a student-in-general over the next 10 months, I want to be able to impress you. I’ll strive to gain your respect as a thinker and a writer, hopefully on more than just a teacher being impressed by a student level. I mean just in general. There’s no greater compliment in school than teachers looking at you and treating you as an equal, or close to it at least.

    As a human being over the next 10 months, I want to be able to…this ones the toughest. I want to be able to gain respect from my classmates. Not for getting an A. That means very little to be frank. I want respect for the things I’m going to say and discuss throughout the year. Sometimes I think I’m overlooked as an intellectual because some people don’t take me seriously.

    Bonus: I have relatively mild depression. Hopefully this won’t get up with my name because I try to keep this to myself for the most part, it would be like giving everyone around me access to my weak point, I think everyone in society tries to cover their own. The point is that there will inevitably be times throughout the year that I seem like I’m not there. I’ll lose interest and be unmotivated. My one tool here is that I know it will happen and can talk about it here so we’re aware of it. I’ve named my kryptonite, which is the first step in overcoming it. It will take your help Mr. Long for me to get through those times and rejoin the class without having lost a step.

    ***

    from Mr. Long: As I promised, your name will not be made public on the blog, so if you are willing to share something very personal — as you did here — then I trust you are comfortable with a certain degree of sharing as long as your name is not added. Just to let you know that you’re not alone, my family has dealt with severe depression for generations. It was also central to my own experiences in high school, too, although at the time I had no ‘name’ for it; it wasn’t until deep into college that I finally began to put the pieces together in such a way as to be able to make sense of depression and to find healthy ways to make it ‘part’ of my life rather than something that ‘controlled’ my life. While I don’t profess to be an expert on the medical aspects nor how it affects you as an individual, feel free — anytime — to ask me to talk about it. I’ll tell you one thing right away: you’re already ahead of so many people I’ve met in my life (including me) who faced depression as an adolescent; most of us ‘hid’ from it and tried unsuccessfully to ‘fake’ it. You — from what I’ve read above and what I’ve noticed about you last year as well — seem to be working very hard to find a way to manage what is a very challenging part of your life. I have a lot of respect for you. And I do not say that lightly. Thank you for being courageous enough to a) share it and b) to ask for people to be support for you along the way. It will be my honor to be in your camp and applaud your success along the way. Best of all, it does not ‘define’ you’, but it may offer unique fuel for some of your writing and creativity over the course of your life; creatives historically tended to take such energy and use it to their advantage in terms of what they were able to imagine/create. Perhaps this will be your destiny, as well.

  18. As a writer over the next ten months I want to expand my ability to use words and twist them to fit a purpose people might not be used to. I also want to expand my vocabulary to help with that task. I want to share my writing with others instead of just turning it in to be graded

    As a thinker over the next ten months, I want to be able to learn to let my mind wander where I might have been afraid to go before. I want to allow myself to be creative and think differently than others instead of always saying I agree with whatever someone says. I want to explore something I might not have thought about before.

    As a student in general in the next ten months I want to be able to pass the class. Haha that would be nice but I could settle for just adding to my knowledge. I want to showcase my mind and what I can do and really push myself to do what I didn’t think I could before. I also want to get over my fear of public speaking.

    As a human in general over the next ten months I want to change how I see myself and the world. I want to get out of my comfort zone. I want to get out there and help in my community either using my mind or my hands. I also want to get my drivers lisence.

    Bonus: Not many people know that I write songs, so that may help with any poetry we do. I also want to try to start sharing my songs with people because I have been afraid of regection in the past, but this summer I realized I need to get over it and start living in the real happen. world because failure is going to. Hopefully this class will help me with persuing my secret talent.

  19. As the class progresses through the year, I would like to see myself as a better writer in a certain way. a way that makes the reader say that my, whatever, was one of the most interesting, and mind blowing things that he/she has ever read. As a person, I would like to see myself as a more avid and complex thinker; someone who I can have an intellectual conversation and interest the person I’m talking to with my ideas and thoughts. As a student-in-general, I would like to see myself as a person who can get B’s and A’s (mostly A’s) and be consistent in getting them. As a human being, I would like to see myself as a more interesting person who tell interesting stories, and entertain a group of people. Basically, I want to be a better people person. As a bonus for you Mr. Long, I like to try new things and be adventurous. I would like to be a Neurosurgeon and a Neuropsychiatrist (the Neuropsychiatrist is where I need to be a better people person).

  20. As a reader over the next 10 months, I want to be able to enjoy, analyze, and understand what I’m reading to the fullest. At one point of my life (before high school) I hated to read and I thought it was boring, but after some thinking I realized that being able to not just read a book from cover to cover but also being able to comprehend what your reading is crucial for anything you decide to do with your life. Therefore my number one goal for this class is to be capable of taking pleasure in and comprehending any book that I decide to read (or have too).

    To develop as a student over the next 10 months, I want to be able to intertwine myself better in discussions over many varieties of topics. Usually I’m quiet when it comes to group conversations, but I want that to change. Being able to converse and give opinions is a quality I want to achieve. With this quality I’ll soon find out that other things that once seemed difficult will seem second nature to me.

    To become a better thinker over the next 10 months, I want to be able to develop thoughts on different topics faster than I normally can. I want to be able to think about a topic and know exactly what to say.

    As a human being over the next 10 months, I want to keep expanding my vocabulary. It’s important and crucial if I want to get into any good college or if I want a high-quality job. I also want to be able to opinionate and support my opinions when I’m having a friendly argument with a friend.

  21. In ten months, I hope that my writing skills see a great jump in ability. Writing both essays and other types of papers has always been one of my weakest points, and this year I hope to see it become one of my strengths instead of a weakness.
    I also think that by the end of this academic year, that my skills in communication with others will improve. With the debates (which I’m looking foward to) we will have in class, I don’t see how these skills can’t improve.
    I’m also hoping that my thought processes after this year will evolve so much that I can actually join in on an adult conversation, and that I won’t be seen as a chilid, not only by my family, but others as well. Overall, I just hope that I will evolve as a person.

  22. -As a writer over the next 10 months, I want to be able to engage the reader in my writing. I want to capture the reader’s attention from the start. This includes keeping their attention until the very end of the story. I also want to be able to write smoothly and creatively. I have always admired certain writers for their vivid imagination. It’s a skill I wish to possess one day.

    -As a thinker over the next 10 months, I want to be able to look beneath the surface, and discover the true meaning of things. I often try to do that now, but I can’t always seem to understand the deeper side. I want to be able to recognize the profound nature of an author’s message. That is a talent I desire to have by the time I leave your class.

    -As a student-in-general over the next 10 months, I want to be able to manage my time better. I tend to procrastinate when it comes to completing my assignments, and it hasn’t helped me yet. I also want to push myself and reach my full potential in and out of school. That is one of my biggest goals this year.

    -As a human being over the next 10 months, I want to be able to have more confidence in myself and in my writing. I know confidence is a quality that takes you far in life, and I hope to build on mine during this year. I strive to appreciate other people’s opinions, and I hope they will respect mine. I also want to improve my public speaking skills. I am deathly afraid of speaking in front of a large group of people. I hope to overcome this fear, and one day enjoy speaking in public.

    -Bonus: I have always loved English class, even when I was very young. This year I am really looking forward to taking this class because it sounds like I will learn a lot. I have always loved to write, even though I may not be the best writer! I can’t wait to improve my writing skills over the course of this year.

  23. 10 Month Vision

    As a writer, I hope to learn how to write good essays on the spot, for all my classes and the SAT, in your class. As a writer, I hope to increase my vocabulary for the SAT and the future by your visual vocabulary stories because I think vocabulary is important in a good paper. I also hope that your class will improve my grammar for the SAT. As a thinker, I hope to learn how to express my thought easily. I have always had trouble with this in my previous English classes because I thought my ideas were bad. I am not a computer person so I have never written a blog. I am hoping your class will help me get used to the computer. I hope that your class will also help me become an even better reader. As a student, I also hope to maintain an A in your class.

  24. As a writer over the next 10 months, I want to be able to think outside the box and exceed my own self imposed expectations. I would like to expand my vocabulary skills and make my writing more professional. I want to go beyond what I am capable, and do that 10 times better.

    As a thinker (in class conversations and in private) over the next 10 months, I want to be able to think beyond the surface of the imposed question. I would like to explore all views and challenge my own opinions.

    As a student in general over the next 10 months, I want to be able to give 110% in everything I do. I would like to strive to make an A in the class and I would like my work to reflect my dedication and determination.

    As a human being over the next 10 months, I want to be able to become a better person. I want to become a person who is dedicated to everything they do. I want to push myself to do better, and to never give up.

    When I finish high school I would like to go to college. I dont know what I want to major in yet,but I know I would enjoy working with people and children. I love helping others and in return I receive a special blessing.

  25. As a writer over the next ten months I want to be able to improve on catching and holding the readers attention. I would like to write a book some day so this is an important skill I need to work on. Also I know that my spelling could use some work.
    As a thinker over the next ten months I want to be able to be more confidant in my ideas.
    As a student-in-general over the next ten months I want to be able to master balancing all of my classes, and become more participant in activities. I would also like to get rid of a small procrastination problem, the more time I have the longer I put stuff off and I would like to fix that.
    As a human being over the next 10 months, I want to be able to be more outgoing. I don’t talk very much when I first meet people I don’t know, and I know that sometimes it gives the wrong impression and I would like to break that habit. Also I want to participate more. I had a good year last year but I know it could have been better if I had participated in more of the activities the school had to offer.
    Bonus: I’m a really hard worker and I will always do my share of the work I’m given.

  26. -As a writer over the next 10 months, I want to be able to express my thoughts clearly yet eloquently. I want to be able to get my point across while still entertaining my “audience.” I tend to start off strong in my papers but lose my train of thought towards the end, I hope to fix this.

    -As a thinker over the next 10 months, I want to be able to see others points of view and try to understand where their opinions come from. I would like to see the deeper meaning in everything from literature to paintings. I plan to challenge my usual way of thinking.

    -As a student-in-general over the next 10 months, I want to be able to overcome my shyness and be able to participate in class discussions fully. I fear presenting and am very quiet while doing so. I want to be able to be less afraid of presenting and feel more comfortable in front of a group of people. I also hope this class helps me understand technology more, something I am not to skilled in.

    -As a human being over the next 10 months, I want to be able to learn how to step out my comfort zone. I am a little hard to get to know and am pretty reserved. I hope to become more approachable and more comfortable in public situations like presenting or meeting new people.

    Bonus: I am pretty interested in older things, be it music, culture, or literature. I hope to learn more about literature from previous eras and how it influenced the authors of today.

  27. As a thinker I want to be able to see every point of view. I want to be able to logically think through problems seeing not only my opinion on the topic but also understanding and respecting the opinions of others. If I can accomplish this only then can I truly support my own views in life.
    Over the next ten months as a student I obviously want to make the best grades I can. However, I would also like to understand and embrace the inevitable fact that I am not perfect (though I find this to be very inconvenient and frustrating at times) and be able to always learn from my mistakes and not worry myself to death if I happen to, on occasion, make a human error.
    As a human being I want to be able to see things the way others do, so I will not be biased. This would allow me to bow out gracefully if I am wrong, and help me learn to respect all the ideas of others. If I can accomplish this and I am able to see every side of situations and arguments life will go much more smoothly.
    Bonus: I would love to be an author, though I know it is highly unlikely for me to become one. I love writing, in any form, but I believe I need to greatly improve in order for me to obtain my goals.

    ***

    from Mr. Long: Had to laugh at your parenthetical comment in the “student” section. We all get a bit testy when we discover that we’re a) human and b) ripe for making human mistakes. Luckily, life (and school) gives us plenty of chances for graceful recovery! As to your “bonus” section: you are blessed to be alive in this day and age of digital self-publishing opportunities that would have made the ancient monk scribes faint. Seriously! You are able to self-publish through some remarkable web applications, and even can list your own book on Amazon…right this second…without a publisher even giving you permission. So, the ONLY limit in your future re: that dream of being an “author” lies in finding the subject(s) that inspire you enough to write for a real audience. Willing to take that challenge?

  28. -As a writer over the next ten months, I want to be able to write my essays or anything else I write, faster and to be more fluent and articulate. I want to be able to catch my reader’s attention from the first sentence and hold their attention until the great finish. Combined with being a thinker over the next 10 months, I would also like to be able to immediately write an essay, no matter what topic I am given, efficiently so I can do well on the essay of the SAT and be able to be accepted to any college I choose. I also want to expand my weak vocabulary.
    -As a thinker over the next 10 months, I want to be able to quickly come up with an idea during a debate and be able to instantly think of the word I want to say. Although naturally, whether I am good at it or not, I like to try to look at things from both sides of view and see things from all different angles, but I would still like to become better and improve at it during the next 10 months. Personally, I like things that are structured like math rather than expressing my opinions.
    -As a student-in-general over the next 10 months, I want to be able to get good grades from all my classes, preferably A’s rather than B’s or C’s and handle the work load I receive and survive all my classes. If I remember correctly, you said that C’s were the most common grade and that we will be happy to get a B. However, since I find English a bit difficult, I am hoping you could help me with it and I will try my best to understand and pass with a preferred A.
    -As a human being over the next 10 months, I want to be able to learn greatly from this class because I know that it will help me with whatever I’ve decided to do when I grow up. Starting out with this blog is great since I have never written a blog before. Although, I still haven’t really decided what college I want to go to, what I want to major in or what I want to be when I am out of college, I do not plan to major in English in college.
    -Bonus: No one in my family likes English to well (no offense) although we all know that English is helpful in life and depending what job you have, it helps more on certain jobs than others. For my mom, English was her second language, and for my dad, well, he just simply do not like English classes, some English classes more than others depending on the teachers. With that being said, I don’t really have anyone to help me with my English so I was wondering if you could help me with it. I am also worried I will not I have the time I want and/or need for this class and this first weekend is not lowering my fears after having homework from every class all due Mon.

    ***

    from Mr. Long: I really appreciate the distinction you made about factual vs. opinion-based conversations/assignments. Please know that while we’ll be exploring lots of options, ultimately our job — as writers — is to be as logical as possible for our reader(s). This means being very structural in our final drafts, but also trusting that there is no ‘one’ answer when we are given a question. And yes, I’d be honored to help you one-on-one as often as you’d seek that conversation. Please consider me available in many ways throughout the year, esp. if you give me head’s up so that I can save time in my daily schedule for you. Plus, we can use Google Docs to assist in this so that you can share writing drafts long before you submit a final paper, as well as to do multiple re-writes over time. Thank you for your honesty and request. Happy to help…and help you succeed.

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