Unit 15: Letter to the Instructor (1) – Assignment

Unit 15: Letter to the Instructor (1) – Assignment

Deadline is Monday, December 7, 2015 at 11:59 pm

Write a 2-3 page letter to the instructor, which includes your own analysis of your work in this class. 

You may discuss any of the following in this letter:

*Your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, and how these may have changed or your awareness of these may have been altered.

*The essay that you are most pleased with

*The essay that you are least pleased with

*The difficulty level of the various essays you completed for this class

*The format of this class

*The quality of lecture notes, instructor feedback on papers, and other materials

*The helpfulness of the textbook

Though this letter is to be addressed to the instructor, the real point of this paper is for you to reflect on this semester–how the course did (or did not) help you grow as a writer–and prepare yourself for other writing assignments you may have in the future.

The following is a student example of the Letter to the Instructor:

Dear Sheyene,

   Over the course of the semester, we have studied a variety of styles of writing, from the perspective paper to the research paper, from the personal narrative to summary/strong response.  Now is the culmination point of all our hard work over the last seven weeks.  I believe my perspective paper, my research paper, and my personal narrative were my three best works of the semester.  I hope that have given you a sense of who I am as a writer and a person, because if there is no life, no soul to my writing, then it is nothing but a bunch of words splashed on paper. 

   The first paper I will discuss is my perspective paper.  Our assignment was to find a place on campus and just take twenty to thirty minutes to record observations about our place.  I’m very happy with the way this piece turned out.  I tried to use many action verbs, like in the phrases:  “the graceful animal leaps high into the air” and “the brown, parched grasses helplessly reaches skyward.”  I wanted action verbs in my descriptions so that readers could actually hear the birds chirping and feel the heat of this sun beating down on their necks.  I also wanted to incorporate all the tools of the Writer’s Toolbox, especially figurative language.  I used similes to make comparisons between what I was seeing and other, finer aspects of life.  For instance, “Insects create beautiful music with their buzzes and chirps; it is like that are playing in an orchestra.”

   The second part of the perspective paper was the rhetorical analysis.  I found this part to be fairly easy because I understand my writing and am able to explain what I am doing.  Basically, we were supposed to talk about the specific elements of the five rhetorical tools that we used in our descriptions.  I have had a lot of practice in this form of writing, in the English classes I took during high school, so I think this turned out very well.  The two descriptions of my place incorporate some of the exact same details, but give them in a completely different light and create the opposite impressions, as outlined in the assignment.  I also think my rhetorical analysis is very concise in explaining the techniques I used in my writing and how I was able to create the intended feelings in the reader.

   The next paper I am proud of is my research paper.  Of all the assignments this semester, the Explaining a Concept Research Paper was the most inherently difficult to complete.  I started off with the topic of Pez candy, but I had to scrap that topic almost immediately because of an utter lack of information regarding the topic.  Next, I tried golf balls, but again, there was no information to be discovered.  Thank goodness I heard a couple of guys at the video store talking about the party they were going to over the weekend, or I never would have decided on a topic.  The thought of partying college students prompted me to settle on the topic of binge drinking.  As can be imagined, there was a plethora of information on this topic, so much so that I had to narrow the focus of my paper and be very selective in choosing my sources.

   Upon narrowing my focus to binge drinking on college campuses, I found information regarding several studies done at college campuses around the country, and a specific study done at Northern Illinois University.  These sources gave me the usual percentages of student who binge drink and the effects of binge drinking on the college as a whole.  But the interesting fact I found was that the actual percentages of binge drinking students are much less than perceived.  The study done at Northern Illinois distinctively determined the cause of this discrepancy comes from the idea that “everyone is doing it” and students get pressured into drinking from this outlook by “imaginary peers.”  Overall, I think I did a nice job of combining all the information I gathered into one united piece of writing. 

   The last essay I’d like to discuss is my personal narrative, detailing a significant time in my life.  I chose basketball tryouts my eighth grade year because that’s when I discovered my true love of the game.  Of all my work this semester, this piece is my favorite.  It’s my favorite because the specifications of the assignment were pretty general.  As long as the topic somehow influence our lives, then it was acceptable.  The rest of the paper was completely up to us as writers, and I seized the opportunity to allow my personality and unique writing style show through.  I used dialogue between characters a lot to help move the story along, I give just enough background information to set up the scenario, and I reflect on the situation without giving the corny “From this experience, I learned . . . “ that we’ve all seen a million times.  Overall, I really liked out this piece turned out.

   To sum it up, this has really been a great class to take my first semester back in school.  It got me back into the flow of writing after being idle for several years, and now I feel ready to tackle bigger and better things.  I also learned a lot about myself as a writer, improved my transitions, and learned how to really “show” a reader in my writing instead of just “telling” them.  I truly enjoyed this class and feel it was a great benefit to me.  Thank you for your time.


                                                                                        Jason Smith

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