Five-Letter Words | Teen Ink

Five-Letter Words MAG

By Tracy Umstead, Woburn, MA

As I shoveled the last bite of spaghetti into my mouth, I heard a voice from the next room, “Come on, Tracy. I want to teach you some five-letter words tonight.”

“Okay, Daddy.” I skipped into the family room and my father scooped me into his lap, a pen and paper in hand.

“I’m going to write some words down, and I want you to pronounce them, all right?”

“Okay.” I kissed him on the cheek and waited excitedly for the words to form on the page. Nights with my parents teaching me words were the highlight of my day; and little did I know they would be the most important lessons of my life.

Ever since I learned to read I have been in love with the English language. Words are my passion, and I have been writing everything from fiction to poetry since I could first form sentences. When I started preschool, I began reading books on my own. My teacher was impressed and allowed me to read to the class. My favorite books in elementary school included The Chronicles of Narnia and some of Stephen King’s shorter novels, among hundreds of others.

My parents always assumed that I would graduate at the top of my class. They were extremely proud that I was so interested in school. I was usually the first to finish assignments and would help others who were struggling. One thing that has been consistent in my life is my dream to become a teacher, and I believe it may have stemmed from the satisfaction I received from helping classmates.

Around seventh grade, my outlook on school changed. Although I maintained my love for words, I became moody and rebellious, refusing to work hard. Instead, I would sneak my own books into school and read them during class. Because of my attitude, my grades suffered.

Regrettably, I did not realize the repercussions until it was too late to erase the damage. It was difficult for me to understand the importance of school, and I am really sad that I wasted four years of my academic career. Due to dropping grades, freshman year I was grouped with the lazy, unmotivated students who hated reading (instead of those who were more like me: stimulated from the get-go and ready to learn). But instead of realizing that I was misplaced, I fell hard, telling myself, “Just wait until college. I will do all of my work then because I’ll be doing what I love every day.”

I wish I had known that this attitude would hurt me in the end, but I hope it does not cost me admission to college. While I don’t expect to be chosen over a student with an immaculate transcript, I hope that if I am compared to a student with a similar transcript, I will shine due to my passion and sincere promise of success.

I firmly believe I will succeed as a high school English teacher. English has always been my forte, and I understand how to deal with “slackers” because I am able to empathize with them. I want nothing more in life than to teach students the wonders of literature so they can reach their potential. I know I can succeed in college – it’s what I have been waiting for my whole life. Now that it is approaching, I would like the chance I feel I deserve.

My father’s lessons have enabled me to succeed and I hope they will follow me forever. Those five-letter words have had a great impact on my life, allowing me to “learn,” “dream,” “trust,” and hopefully “teach” someday.

I have the potential and the enthusiasm to succeed as an English major. It is what I have been working toward ever since those days of my parents’ teaching, and I eagerly look forward to what college has in store.

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This article has 8 comments.

StacyAllen25 said...
on Jun. 2 2012 at 6:18 am
Some time before, I needed to buy a good house for my corporation but I did not earn enough cash and could not purchase anything. Thank God my brother proposed to take the mortgage loans at trustworthy creditors. Thence, I acted so and was satisfied with my small business loan.

on Nov. 17 2011 at 10:02 am
MarissaWhitecloud SILVER, Oskaloosa, Iowa
7 articles 0 photos 84 comments
I love it. It made me think about my school future and about my past.

on May. 25 2011 at 6:48 pm
collegegirladventures GOLD, Mequon, Wisconsin
10 articles 8 photos 307 comments

Favorite Quote:
A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.

~Salman Rushdie

wow!! encourangement for me to work hard. I am a softmore in high school, and am reallly feeling the pressure about studying more for SAT's and ACTs and just college in general. thx for writing this.

Scribe said...
on May. 25 2011 at 1:15 pm
Tracy, this is the heartfelt essay of a repentant scholar.  Your passion and skills are clearly evident.  I'm sure many of the colleges you're considering will easily see this and admit you to the freshman class.  

Actress@<3 said...
on Jan. 13 2011 at 6:18 pm
I really can tell that you have a strong passion for literature but it is such a shame that your attitude slightly changed in the long run. I wish you well in life! Know that you do have a talent!

KayleeW BRONZE said...
on Nov. 30 2010 at 9:24 pm
KayleeW BRONZE, Brier, Washington
2 articles 0 photos 2 comments
I think this is great! Your passion clearly shines through and although your grades might not be what every college looks for, this essay clearly shows you have drive to "teach" great job.

Runner GOLD said...
on Nov. 30 2010 at 12:03 pm
Runner GOLD, Amherst, Massachusetts
15 articles 0 photos 30 comments
what do you mean?

Rick01 said...
on Oct. 17 2010 at 4:20 pm
Sample Cover Letter