NUMBER OF THE WEEK: Feb. 01, 2009
Source: Political Chowder | January 30, 2009

Essay on Learning

This is personal, but I also think, important. The number this week comes from my oldest daughter's essay on learning. The essay was composed for a possible job opportunity in Japan. It speaks to challenge, persistence and hope. -Arnie Arnesen

by Melissa Arnesen-Trunzo

Everyone has a beginning, in learning. When a baby first opens its eyes it is it sees a blurred world and hears sounds that are no longer muffled by its mothers womb. Over the course of time these blurred images and sharp sounds begin to mold into a world that will ultimately be this persons reality. These blurred images and sharp sounds will not end with childhood, rather continue on through the course of a person's life as new places and ideas are discovered.

As a child, I can still remember, these blurred images taking a bit longer to mold in comparison to others. I am dyslexic. For years I struggled with seeing blurred words on a page. I wanted to learn. I wanted to be in the reading circles with the more advanced students. Our first grade class had different colored books depending on your reading level. Green was the color of the lowest level. Next was Blue. Then there was orange. Purple was the highest. I told myself by the time I finished first grade I would be reading out of the purple book.

Knowing how to learn was challenging. I recognized that I was not seeing what other students were seeing. It was as though there was a screen blocking my eyes from telling my brain what was really there. Through countless hours spent playing games to help my brain connect shapes with words and sounds I worked on building my vocabulary. I sang songs. I created rhymes. I memorized words. Connecting words with sentences I began to read.

My family and my teachers gave me the chance to learn. Their constant support, time and effort allowed me to reach my goal. I will never forget the last day of school when Ms. Langley opened the purple book and had me read one paragraph to her out loud. It was right before recess and the smell of pizza lunch was still stagnant in the classroom. Opening the book I read slowly and precisely. My palms were sweating when I finished and a moist film of sweat and lunch residue clung to the book. I don't remember now what I read, but I know the how proud I felt when I finished. Ms. Langley looked down at me and said "Good job, Melissa!" As I ran outside to play with my friends on the swing set I remember how great I felt. I felt powerful. I did it. I wanted to learn, I knew how to learn, I was given the chance and it happened. I learned.

To this day I still want to learn. Reliving that moment I had in the first grade is something that I cherish. Helping others reach their learning goals is also something I cherish. Having spent the last couple months teaching English in Japan I realize there is so much more I would like to learn in order to be a better teacher. As I did in the first grade I have recognized that I want to learn. I know how I learn. I would now like to take this chance to learn more.