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This is an essay written by a student a few years ago at another college.
She was given the same assignment as you--write an Example Essay.

Debia Crandall
ENG 101
September 11, 1994

                                                             "Spanish Discipline"

"Hola! " "Bienvenida a la primero dia de la clase de Espanol. " ("Welcome to the first day of Spanish class." "Okay, I wonder if my instructor realizes that thiis is Spanish 101, not 102." I figured that I was in for a bit of a challenge when I signed up for this class, but I never imagined that learning a foreign language could make me second guess my competence. Speaking Spanish may sound desirable, but those four credits I earned last semester where the hardest ones to acquire. There never seemed to be any relief in this class. All the way from in class lectures, to homework assignments, to tests, I struggled.

     In class, we were rewarded cards (tokens) for each correct response. My initial reaction was, "Great, I can play this game." I then remembered how in fourth grade our teacher used to have flash card drills to help us learn arithmetic. I was always one of the quickest to blurt out the correct response. However, the confidence I gained from this fond memory died as soon as the questions spoken in Spanish began. Senora Jarvis looked at me and said, "De donde eres tu, senorita?" I thought, "I de donde know." But after three tries, I finally managed to tell her that I was from Colorado. Later in the semester, we were taught to write complete sentences on the board describing our families, jobs, and interests. I would have preferred to sit out on most of the class participation in order to spare myself the embarrassment, but I was depending on it for 25% of my semester grade.

     As if sitting through an hour of class four times a week wasn't agonizing enough, the homework required even more brain power, and an endless amount of time. Memorizing the vocabulary was by far the easiest things to do, but after memorizing 400 words in Spanish with the correct spelling, I lost my desire to speak them. For every chapter, a three page workbook assignment had to be completed along with five additional assignments from the text book. Completing these assignments would take about an hour and a half each night. For the most part, I didn't mind taking the time for these assignments because I knew that if I could complete them, I'd have a chance of passing our biweekly tests. In addition to reading and writing our homework assignments, we practiced along with a tape, pronouncing the new vocabulary words in the correct sentence structure. Oh what a joy to learn how to speak Spanish. Sometimes I wondered if my "rrrrs" would ever sound the way Profesora Jarvis' did. In spite of all of this studying, it was still necessary to me to meet with a tutor twice a week to smooth out the rough areas. Was all of my time and sweat going to be worth the grade I would receive? By now I should have been prepared for what Mrs. Jarvis calls a "Mickey Mouse" quiz, but those tests had me pulling my hair out.

     Each test was to be completed in twenty minutes. During this time we had to answer five oral questions. It was hard enough trying to figure out what she was saying, but then we had to write our response in Spanish. Next we filled in the missing vocabulary word to fifteen sentences. Then we had to translate ten questions and sentences from English to Spanish. It took every morsel of recall for me to be able to complete a test. Even though Senora Jarvis referred to these tests as quizzes, they were worth 45% of our grade. In the same way our final was very difficult because it covered a whole semester of material. Overall, there were just a few differences between our tests and the final. This time when she asked us the oral questions we had to respond verbally on an individual basis. That part of the final was worth 100 points or 10% of our semester grade, and the written part was worth 200 points or 20% of our semester grade.

     Needless to say, the desire I had to learn to speak Spanish required a lot of time and discipline. But in spite of the effort I put forth, I still received a "B" for Spanish 101.

     Through my hard work, I did gain the ability to carry on a simple conversation in Spanish. And if I'm honest with myself, that was my goal going into this class. So, whether I earned an "A," "B," or earned a "C," I consider my goal accomplished. I'm speaking Spanish, and I earned four credits doing it.

Remember to always ask yourself certain questions when looking at a sample or model essay. First, who was the audience for the paper? Second, what is the thesis for the essay? And third, does the paper successfully meet its audience's needs and prove the thesis?

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