I am Very Proud of my Distinction in O-Level English Language
For the 2017 W@W Writing Competition Prize Award Ceremony, we invited our alumni, Rahul Menon, to share his W@W journey with all winners. This young man gave a rousing speech about how proud he felt as he saw his writing skills improve, which led him to achieve a high score of 28 out of 30 for his Secondary 4 essay writing exams. His W@W journey eventually led him to score a Distinction for his ‘O’ Level English Language.
Good evening teachers, parents and students. I am Rahul Menon, a graduate student of WR!TERS @ WORK. I was from Clementi Woods Secondary School, and now I am pursuing my studies in Nursing at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
I first joined W@W in Secondary 4, with the aim of improving my English grades, which was hovering in the B4 range. With the O-Levels looming ahead, I had limited time to pull up my socks to ace English – the compulsory L1 in my graduating grade. I remembered clearly at that time my younger brother was already studying at W@W, and my mum signed me up for the Secondary 4 class too. Before attending my first lesson at W@W, I had the initial perception that English enrichment would be no different from school lessons. After my first W@W lesson with Ms Jemmies, I realised that she provided a lot of guidance and essay writing practice that I very much needed.
The journey to improving my English grades was not exactly a walk in the park, especially when I first started lessons at W@W. Do you know that in Singapore secondary schools every English period is only 45 minutes long? My school teacher would just do some group work or assign a rare essay writing practice as homework since there isn’t much time to teach. But guess what? At W@W, the Secondary POWER WR!TE Program, which I attended, was 3 hours long! Every lesson was 180 minutes, if not more because Ms Jemmies always had things to teach us. That was like a lifetime of English lessons to a 16-year-old, but surprisingly I got accustomed to Ms Jemmies’ lessons pretty quickly.
I can still remember my favourite lesson in W@W was one on leadership. Ms Jemmies blacked out the classroom, blindfolded us and made us go through an obstacle course under a classmate’s leadership. After that, we had to write an expository essay about characteristics of leaders. W@W Clementi classroom is not exactly big, but I would always remember that lesson because I thought I was going through a tough Spartan Race.
The initial struggle to master essay writing was painful. In fact, it was excruciating. Every lesson there was something to learn; Ms Jemmies would plan activities (such as the obstacle course, debates, doing a sales-pitch or delivering speeches). Otherwise, she would pump us with visual text and information to beef up our general knowledge, which was very helpful when writing expository essays. Soon, I developed an interest in the topics I was learning at W@W. Before I knew it, learning English became fun. BUT to become a good writer we had to go that extra mile, so Ms Jemmies made us write 500 – 800 words essays almost every week. It was really tough at first, but with Ms Jemmies’ guidance, I found myself working hard to improve my writing. All my hard work at W@W eventually paid off; I had no trouble churning out 800-word essays in the end. On hindsight, I’m thankful for grasping the ability to write long essays because today I can handle my tertiary writing assignments easily.
I’m sure that many of you at W@W can relate to this experience. Be it learning to write a primary school composition or secondary school essay. It is not easy. And not to mention the 2nd drafts that W@W teachers often generously assign to all students. It is mentally exhausting to be writing such long essays on a weekly basis. It is time-consuming to be doing all those 2nd drafts. But there is so much to learn about writing, and practice makes perfect. Over time, I believe all of you will to get used to the rigour of the lessons at W@W, and you will start to see improvements. Trust me; good writing skills will not only help you in your English exams, but it’ll also serve you well when you have to write thousand word assignments at a tertiary level.
In the short span of one year at W@W, I saw my essay writing skills improve so much that I achieved a high score of 28 out of 30 for my Secondary 4 English Paper 1 exams. It was like achieving mission impossible. It gave me the confidence I needed to push on towards the O levels.
After many 3-hour lessons at W@W, my efforts (and Miss Jemmies’) has finally paid off. When I received my O-Levels results, I improved from B4 to A2. I felt very proud of my A2 in English, and I only have Ms Jemmies to thank for her expert guidance and effort she put into teaching us. I think the main reason why I got a distinction would be credited to my improved essay writing skills.
I will always remember how I went from ploughing through 3-hour essay lessons at W@W to breezing through the lessons with fun, joy and laughter. W@W has given me more than just lessons in English and a distinction in the subject; it has also given me good writing skills that I still find useful today.
For all the current students at W@W, if you ever feel that learning to write well is tough, keep on trying. Given the fact that you have dedicated W@W teachers making sure you master good writing skills, not to mention the weekly compositions and essays you are diligently doing, I’m sure you will get the hang of writing well very soon. After all, practice does make perfect.
Tonight, I would like to congratulate all the winners of the 2017 W@W Writing competition. Regardless of your placing, every one of you is a winner. Thank you, and may all of you have a wonderful evening in this WOW W@W World.