How a Teacher Can Change a Life

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Marisol Alfaro

ENGL 1301.133


Essay 1

        In his essay “The Art of Eating Spaghetti”, Russell Baker explains how a high school writing assignment changed his life (4). At first, Baker was bored by anything that had to do with his English classes. He loved to write, but he hated the compositions that he had to write in class. He described them as “agonies for teachers to read and for [him] to write (3). When Baker was assigned to his third-year English class, he expected “another grim year in that dreariest of subjects” (4). His teacher, Mr. Fleagle, was described as a very “prim” or very proper person. When Mr. Fleagle assigned the informal essay, Baker put it off and waited until the night before it was due to start on it. He thought about the time he first ate spaghetti and immediately thought of a topic for his essay; he titled it “The Art of Eating Spaghetti”. Although he wanted to write about the great memory he had, he knew he wouldn’t be able to write it the way Mr. Fleagle expected it to be written. Therefore, Baker decided to write the essay for himself, and write another for Mr. Fleagle afterwards. Because the essay took him all night to write, he had no time left for another essay. He had no choice but to turn in the one he had written. Baker expected failure for the assignment, but to his surprise, Mr. Fleagle enjoyed his essay and even praised it in front of the class. Baker stated that he felt “pure ecstasy”, and that he had discovered a calling; “it was the happiest moment of [his] entire high school career” (4). From then on he felt that Mr. Fleagle “had opened a door for him”, and ranked his eleventh grade English teacher, “among the finest teachers at the school” (4). He chose the essay topic “The Art of Eating Spaghetti” because it was one of his most memorable moments, and it ended up giving him a life changing experience.

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        Similarly, I also had a teacher, Ms. Wiseburn, in elementary school that completely changed my mindset about things; just as Mr. Fleagle had done for Baker. Baker’s teacher helped him change the way he felt towards English, and mine helped me to change my personality and to see things in a different way. Before I became her student I was in the third grade, and had already met Ms. Wiseburn through my older brother who was her student before I was. I had a pretty good idea of what kind of person she was already. She came off as a ...

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