Reflections – The Art of Examining Our Own Practices and Experiences
The final activity of the Hamlet unit for Eng. 12 was a reflection essay. Here is one of my favorite responses:
” Throughout the entirety of our Hamlet unit I didn’t just learn about Hamlet, I also learned some intriguing things about myself. When we started Hamlet, I wasn’t real invested in it. As we got further and further into the unit (especially the movie) I began to start paying more attention and better understanding the story. It wasn’t until it was time to write the paper that I really discovered what Hamlet had made me realize about myself. It surprised me a lot, but now that I know it, I’ll do my best to remember it.
Usually, on any normal essay, I will procrastinate until I’m staying up after 3 a.m. to finish my writing. This time it was different. I got sick about 3 days before the rough draft was due. Stuck at home, I decided to go ahead and write most, if not all, of my paper. I started probably about noon or maybe a little after and just started chugging along. The weirdest part, I actually began to enjoy what I was doing. If I didn’t like something, I could change it at my own free will and not have to worry about rushing just to get it done in time. Numerous times I wrote a whole paragraph, went back and re-read it, deleted it, then started over with a clean slate. Sure, I took breaks here and there, but I didn’t get done writing until about 6:30 that evening. I wasn’t even mad about it either! Reading my “masterpiece” I had finished, I discovered that when I give myself plenty of time to write an essay and revise it, I can actually spit out something that’s half-way decent.
This could actually be a good life lesson for me. I now know I’m capable of turning in decent work, even if Scales doesn’t agree that it’s good. Not everybody’s opinion is good I guess. Thanks to this assignment though, I may start allowing myself more time before I start cramming all my writing into a few hours.”
And by the way, Scales did think it was very decent work.
Another senior tagged a note on his rough draft of an assignment due yesterday, that made my day.
Students growing and learning what they are capable of is what it is all about in teaching. I am loving my year teaching seniors. Students reflecting and taking personal responsibility for their learning outcomes should be the goal of all teachers.
More good reflective responses:
Learning About Myself by Learning About Hamlet
‘Don’t procrastinate, don’t procrastinate, don’t procrastinate,’ I told myself when I received the assignment for a fever chart and three-page essay; and I didn’t. I tried my best to focus, stay on task, and put my best effort into the Hamlet assignments. I planned ahead and tried to work out how to do certain aspects, while still achieving the goal of the assignments, but I soon lost focus.
Staying on task is something I struggle with, and I noticed more and more how my mind careens between subjects; especially as I had to bounce between the play and the film adaptation of Hamlet. I tried to keep my essay on task, but my mind would wonder. As I reread my essay, I found error upon error. I tried to correct as many as I could, changing paragraph structures, sentence structures and word choices. After I removed excessive wordiness and added clarity, my essay was small and not much in comparison with my rough draft. My rough draft had excessive quotes and was messy and all over the place. My mind cannot focus, and I cannot find a way to control it. I know my weakness and I don’t let it hold me back. Focus always seems in reach of me, and right as I go to grasp it, it dissolves like a cloud.
I learned that I need to sit down in silence, with only my assignments to focus on. I need to revise a lot more before my final draft is completed. I need to start sitting down with a printed copy of my essay, highlighters, and pens, and read my essay aloud, correct things that are confusing to read, redundant, and unnecessary. I need to read through and correct slowly, multiple times. I learned that I let my fear of not being good enough control how I write my papers. When I worry about how my essay makes me seem, I lose focus of goal my essay and forget my original thesis.
Most importantly, I learned that I am capable of more than I think I am. To achieve my goals I must relax, trust in myself, and focus. To achieve my goals, I also need to use less commas and causing less comma splices. While I kept a rubric near by, I still didn’t use it as much as I should have. I need to focus, and relax. If not, I will get an average grade because I have average work. The grade I get reflects how hard I work on an assignment. Honestly, I only did what I had to do, which is average, so received a C. I learned that despite my struggle to focus, I still must work hard.
Realizing just how great Shakespear was/is
What can be learned about one’s self from just a simple and old play? This old play has certainly caught my attention, with its subtlety in its characters speech and character development. However, through the reading of the play and the viewing of the 1990 film adaptation, I grew to appreciate how well the characters motives were displayed and how their intentions were obvious from the start of their introduction. These viewings and readings really taught me to look for the little details in films and plays. Such as in the movie the slight expressions of the actors made their respective characters feel very real, and as though they were actually their characters. Looking at these subtle details allowed me to grow my interest in the Shakespearean style of writing characters.What can be learned about one’s self from just a simple and old play? This old play has certainly caught my attention, with its subtlety in its characters speech and character development. However, through the reading of the play and the viewing of the 1990 film adaptation, I grew to appreciate how well the characters motives were displayed and how their intentions were obvious from the start of their introduction. These viewings and readings really taught me to look for the little details in films and plays. Such as in the movie the slight expressions of the actors made their respective characters feel very real, and as though they were actually their characters. Looking at these subtle details allowed me to grow my interest in the Shakespearean style of writing characters.
Though I wasn’t able to perceive much of the characters emotion from reading the play, the way in which it was written had kept me interested and enthralled in their character. After that, I wondered what was keeping me interested throughout the play and movie? It was the pacing of the play and movie that kept me waiting to see what would happen next. The play didn’t reveal the entire plot in the first act, and neither did the movie. Overall they only showed enough of the plot to make the viewer wonder the characters motivations and reasoning for their actions.
Throughout this unit, my respect for Shakespeare’s works grew immensely and made me want to focus more on character. Overall this unit made me respect how well written these plays were and the effort it took to make them.
“I learned that I enjoy Shakespeare’s works. I enjoy the feeling of figuring out the little puzzle pieces you figure out along the way. While reading I like figuring out the different little innuendos he puts into his plays so discreetly.”
“First and foremost I learned that not everyone thinks the same in a tight situation, it showed me that remaining calm and thinking first will clearly help a situation no matter the issue. Stating the obvious, it is safe to say that Hamlet wasn’t exactly the best at taking a more structured approach to his problems.”
“Did I learn anything from the play Hamlet? You bet I did, it was almost like taking a psychology class. I really started paying attention to hamlets actions a lot more as the play progressed.”
“I wouldn’t think I would learn anything from spending a month reading, crafting a fever chart, and writing an essay about an old story I didn’t really care about or like, but I kind of did. My biggest take away was figuring out that I couldn’t do the bare minimum anymore and that if I continued to do so that it would get me in trouble, especially in college.”