Ashley is a 10th grade student at International HS at LaGuardia Community College. Tenth grade students at our school present a portfolio consisting of a mastery statement (a reflective essay on education), science project, native language project and reflection, and creative project and reflection. Ashley presented and passed her 10th grade portfolio on January 25th, 2011. Her panel was made up of two teachers, three students from 9thand 10th grade and one 11th or 12th student. All panel members read Ashley’s portfolio before the presentation and asked her questions about the projects after she introduced them. The following is Ashley’s mastery statement.
When I walked in the door the first day of International High School it was kind of weird because I didn’t know anyone and the school was cold because of the air conditioner. When I walked into my first class the students from last year were very nice because they didn’t even know me and they began to talk to me. The first thing that I thought about my classmates was that all of them were really friendly and no one gave me attitude that day. My first impression about my teachers was that they were very friendly and helpful because they seemed like they were. When time passed I thought I would change my mind, but I really didn’t because the teachers still treated me so well and when I didn’t understand something they helped me.
My first day at the International High School was pretty boring because I didn’t make friends. That day I was with a friend that I met in my junior high school. She and I spent the entire lunch period seated in the lounge. I couldn’t talk to her that well because I didn’t know much English. We sat there without saying anything but in all my other classes it was fun because I got to know some of my classmates and I didn’t felt so alone.
My English has improved a lot from the first day because the first day I didn’t want to learn or improve my English. But when time passed by I was learning so many things that everyday I was becoming more interested in learning English. My writing has improved a lot because of the assignments that the teachers gave me weren’t that easy, and I had to write a lot. But thanks to them I have improved my English. In speaking I have improved also because now I am not shy to talk with people in English. Before I was very shy and afraid because I had the feeling that if I talked in English my classmates would make fun of me, but now I have learned that I don’t have to be afraid of what the people will think.
The schools in Ecuador are really different because in the morning we have to sing the national anthem and then go to class. If we were late to school, the teacher used to take the students to the Principal’s office and sometimes they would call the parents. Also in the schools we didn’t have to change classes, we used to be together no matter what. The teachers used to come to our classrooms. But at IHS the things are really different, we have to change classes. Most of the time when we go to our next class we see our teachers getting ready for our classes.
In my native country, we had six subjects in school. The most interesting one was English because the only thing that we needed to do for homework was to memorize the questions and the answers that they gave us. But the students never really learned anything new because we used to memorize everything just for the test. At IHS, it is really different because instead of memorizing we learn the things that we don’t know. We have four subjects: History, Science, Math and English. In English we write a lot of essays and we write journals on our reading every Friday. In History, we have time to learn, but also to do creative stuff like the radio project. The teachers are always thinking in how the students can learn more and how they can improve.
I always liked to work in groups because I think that is good because you learn how to share your information with others and because you could help them when they don’t understand something. Another thing that I have learned working in groups is to appreciate other people’s cultures. For example I learned from talking with my Hindu group members that they believe in a lot of different gods. This is important for me because if I meet someone and I know about their beliefs we can exchange ideas.
I have learned a lot of English thanks to all the teachers. My goal for next year is to learn more English and to speak it almost perfectly. After that my others goals are to graduate from high school and also graduated from college. When I go to Washington next year, I want to learn more English so I can speak and communicate well. In the future I want to be a pediatrician. The reason I choose this career is because I love kids, I always liked to take care of them and also I think that it is a very respectable job and earns a lot of money.