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Sample Portfolio Essay _1

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									                                         Sample Portfolio Essay #1

        My time at Isothermal has greatly affected my life in many ways. Thanks to my time spent at

Isothermal, I have decided that upon completion of my education, I hope to be able to work as a Spanish

educator at K-12 and college level and as a Spanish-English translator. I have decided on these careers

because of my love for the Spanish language and the fact that Spanish educators and translators are in

high demand. I also believe that these are career choices with which I will be satisfied even later on in

life.

        I have included a variety of artifacts in order to reflect the fact that my experience at Isothermal

has not been focused on just one aspect of learning. The artifacts show my development not only in

writing and reading but also in speaking, math, group work, and many other areas. Through my

experiences at Isothermal, I have come to discover my strengths and weaknesses. I learn better alone or

in extremely calm and quiet places. I am very easily led astray by distractions. It is much easier for me

to learn visually than by just listening. I find even the simplest problems difficult if not given a literal

example or interpretation (mainly with math problems). Learning through group work is difficult for me.

A collection of more than two people serves as more of a distraction than a learning experience for me.

In the process of learning to overcome this weakness I have discovered that if I keep myself

concentrated by going over the instructions when I feel distracted and by not participating in unrelated

conversations I can successfully complete any group assignment with time to spare. While group work is

still a challenge for me, I have through my time at Isothermal learned to work my way through it.

        When I first arrived at Isothermal, my skills in many of the education competencies were

lacking. However, over the year and a half that I have been here I feel that I have greatly improved in all

aspects of my education. I am now more confident in my skills and abilities than I have ever been in my

life.
       When I first began at Isothermal I believe that my reading and writing skills were about a two. I

believe this because I struggled greatly with grammar and spelling, and found long essays a challenge.

While at Isothermal I have taken at least six classes that have directly involved this competency (not

including classes that involved it indirectly). These classes have not only helped me improve my

grammar and spelling but I have also become a much more centered and concentrated writer. I no longer

find long essays so challenging. These skills were improved through constant practice and feedback

from my instructors. Now that I am nearly done with my degree, I feel that I perform at a level four. I

believe this because my artifacts in reading and writing are graded very highly by my instructors. For

my reading artifacts, I chose to include a book review of Rites of Spring by Modris Eksteins, an essay on

Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, and the study guide I completed as I read Mary Shelley's

Frankenstein. I chose these because I feel that they are some of the most complicated books I have read.

I also included them because I believe they reflect my strength in reading. I received a 95 for the review,

a 94 for the essay, and a 100 for the study guide. Before these classes I struggled to understand

meanings of books, but now I understand even the most complex of meanings. All of my artifacts in this

section reflect the writing competency. I feel that the ones I have chosen really show my improvement in

writing as I advanced through my classes. I especially enjoyed my Thomas Hardy essay entitled "Family

as a Factor in Failure." I believe it truly exhibits my abilities not only in reading but also in my ability to

express my own opinion through writing. I feel that this competency is important to me because, as a

teacher, I will need to be able to write properly as well as understand English grammar in order to

properly teach Spanish to English-speaking learners. I intend to continue to develop this competency by

continuing to write regularly; I am even taking an extra English class just to sharpen my writing skills.

       When I began at Isothermal I feel that I performed at a level 1 in the speaking and listening

competency. I believe this not because of any fault with my listening skills but because of my extremely
poor public speaking. I have always been very nervous while speaking in public. This affected all

aspects of my public speaking from the planning all the way to the delivery. During my college

experience I have taken at least six classes that address this competency. In these classes I developed

this competency through spontaneous self introductions and topic discussions, planned presentations,

and through rating, listening to, and rating each other's work. Now that I am near the end of my degree I

feel that I perform at a level three in this competency. While I mainly receive very good grades on

presentations, I still feel like I become very nervous during presentations and public speaking. This is

displayed in my Ted Hughes and my Illegal Immigration presentation as both artifacts show that I was

marked down for not using eye contact and my voice efficiently. I believe this is because I get so

nervous during presenting. However, I do feel I have greatly improved since I began at ICC. I believe

this because I now receive much better grades on presentations, and I am no longer as nervous as I used

to be. I believe this competency will greatly help me because as a teacher I must be able to speak in front

of many people on a daily basis. Listening is also important in order to truly understand and process my

students' needs. I plan on continuing my speaking and listening skills by taking periodic public speaking

classes and practicing my skills in every class.

       When I began college I believe I performed at a level two in the problem solving competency. I

justify this rating because when I began I had extreme difficulty not only solving the problem but also

determining the actual problem that needed to be solved. During my college experience I have taken at

least four classes that address this competency. In these classes I worked through real life and theoretical

problems. I also worked through these problems through experimentation and through mathematical

equations. Now that I am nearly finished with my degree I feel that I perform on a level three. I believe

this because though I have improved greatly I still feel that my level of skill in determining the problem

still lacks greatly. However, my artifacts do reflect the strength of my problem solving skills especially
the claim testing in the last part of my Math 151 final exam since it involves determining and validating

claims. The lab report for experiment 31 also illustrates a growing ability to solve problems. This report

shows my ability to effectively identify and solve problems experimentally. I feel that this competency

is important to me because problem solving is an everyday skill that everyone should be able to do. I

hope to continue my growth in this competency by performing regular problem solving activities.

       When I arrived at Isothermal I believed that I performed at a level one on the interpersonal skills

competency. I believe this because as someone who was home-schooled for all but four of my grade

school years I am not accustomed to working in groups or depending on other people to complete my

work. I felt that group work held me back, and I saw no absolute necessity for it. During my college

experience I believe that nearly all of my classes have addressed this competency. In these classes I

worked on this competency by not only working in groups in projects but also during in-class

competitions and class discussions. Now that I am nearly done with my degree I feel that I perform at a

level four in this competency. I believe this because I can now work very harmoniously in a group and

feel that it is necessary in learning and in life. All three of my artifacts in this competency reflect my

ability to successfully work in a group. In the Ted Hughes presentation I worked with two other team

mates and although we had trouble finding outside time to work on the presentation we worked well

together to finish the assignment. In the Thomas Jefferson presentation I had some trouble getting my

team mates to participate and interact but in the end we interacted well enough to receive a B overall. On

all of my chemistry reports (not just the one I used as my artifact) I worked in a group of three to four

people. This constant group work over two semesters of chemistry really helped me improved my

interpersonal skills as reflected through the great results and grades I received throughout both classes. I

feel that this competency is important because as a teacher I will constantly be working with other

people, many times people with whom I am not familiar such as students and their family members. I
intend to continue work on this competency by continuing my work with people and groups.

       When I began at Isothermal I believe that I performed at a level one in the quantitative skills

competency. I believe this because all of my math skills were extremely weak. I also had problems tying

in-class quantitative work to real life applications and uses. During my college experience I have taken

at least four classes that develop this competency. In these classes I worked on this competency through

learning mathematical equations and rules and using word problems to apply usage to real world

problems. Now that I am nearly finished with my degree I feel that I perform at a level four in this

competency. I believe this because I excelled in quantitative skills tests. The chemistry test and lab and

the math labs that I used as my artifacts really show my improvement. My grades for these artifacts

range from 97 to 108. This for me is proof of how far I have come due to the fact that my prior grade

would have been a B or a C instead of the A I earned. I feel that this is an important competency for me

because as a teacher I will need to use math on a daily basis to calculate grades for my class. I plan to

continue to develop this competency by working on my math skills on a daily basis in every day life.

       When I began my college experience at Isothermal I feel that I performed at a level two in the

Computer Skills competency. I believe this because I did have a basic knowledge of computer programs,

but I was unable to perform some of the more complex actions. During my college experience I have

taken at least eight classes that have addressed this competency in one way or another. In these classes I

worked on this competency by completing documents in all the different professional programs such as

PowerPoint and Word. I also used my newly learned skills to explore the Internet for sources and facts

for different assignments. Now that I am nearly finished with my degree I feel that I perform at a level

four for this competency. I believe this because I now have no problem completing computer based

assignments whether it be a presentation or a research paper. For my artifacts I chose a PowerPoint, a

lab report, and a database. I feel that these three really reflect my learning. The presentation of course
reflects PowerPoint and the database, Access. However, the lab report is, I believe, the most significant.

It reflects my growth in not only Word skills but also making and inserting graphs and charts while also

reflecting formatting skills. I feel that this is an important competency because in today's society

computer skills are not only useful but vital for survival. I plan to continue this competency by using my

computer skills in everyday situations as well as for work and assignments.

       When I arrived at Isothermal I believe I performed at a level two in the Global Awareness

competency. I believe this because while I was aware of global events but had never done a focus or in-

depth study on a particular country. During my college experience I have taken about four classes that

address this competency. I have worked on this competency through weekly check-ups on a focus

country, studying the history of countries, and writing essays on particular global or country wide

problems. Now that I am almost through with my degree program I feel that I perform at a level four on

this competency. I believe this because my knowledge of global events past and present is much more

extensive than it has ever been. For my artifacts I provided a set of three tests from History 111 and 112,

a set of global awareness assignments on Mexico, and an essay written about a little known drug law

passed in Mexico. I believe these three artifacts truly reflect the diversity of the assignments that utilized

global awareness. I believe I did some of my best work on the history tests. They were a true challenge

which my newly found awareness really helped me with. The weekly study of Mexico really brought the

country in perspective for me and was actually the starting research for the drug law essay which was

extremely interesting because of its controversial content. I feel that this competency is important to me

because as a Spanish teacher I must also be aware of the culture and current events of Hispanic

countries. I intend to continue this skill by doing continual research and by traveling globally.

       In conclusion, I plan to use all of these competencies to further my education by transferring

after graduation to Appalachian State University. I plan to continue at least until I achieve my teaching
licensure and translator certification. However, I do hope to one day be able to achieve my doctorate

degree and become a university level Spanish instructor. I hope to be able to increase students' ability to

become bilingual. I hope to achieve my bachelor’s degree within the next three years. Of all my skills

that I will take away from Isothermal I believe that the writing, speaking, computer skills, and global

awareness are most important to me. I expect that all my skills will be useful throughout the rest of my

life.

        This portfolio has really helped me discover the depth of these skills, and it has also made me

think of how these skills and even this portfolio will be useful in the future. I believe I have grown

immeasurably since arriving here. This portfolio has really helped me understand the extent of this

growth and the skills which I have gained.

								
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