My Fulbright application or a teachable moment on essay writing


I did it one day before the deadline. I submitted my Fulbright application on 30 May 2014. Now, 14 months later, I am going to the USA as a proud Fulbrighter!

The program I am participating in is called Foreign Language Teaching Assistant or FLTA for short. As a participant of this program I will be teaching Russian and studying at an American university for an academic year.

When my students heard the news, they asked, “What did it take to get this grant?” I replied, “Well, there were several stages. First, I had to write a lot of text. Then, I … .” And one student said, “I am curious to read what you wrote.” I suppose many are, so I am going to let you in on one of my application essays.

One of the essays I wrote is called “Objectives and motivations.” What I wrote is too long to upload here (1274 words, no less!), so I am only going to share my introduction and conclusion. Oh, and I see a teachable moment here, which I just can’t help using.

Introduction

"Albert Einstein said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” You must keep moving - you must develop, find new ways, overcome difficulties, set and achieve goals. However, I would expand the quote and add “but stay focused and dedicated.” Being a teacher of English who is passionate about her job, I want to stay focused and dedicated. At the same time, in order to be good at my job and to continue enjoying it, I need to keep moving. This is what I have been trying to do throughout my teaching career and the experience has made me brave, flexible, inventive and enthusiastic. So far, so good. But I need to keep moving and meet new challenges. I believe the ultimate challenge for me now would be to teach my native language and the experience I have in teaching English will help me to overcome this challenge."

Let’s have a look at how I chose to structure my introduction:
1. I start with a quote. Admittedly, starting an essay with a quote is a bit of a cliché. But it's still not a bad way to start. To avoid sounding too clichéd, I expand the quote and add a personal touch.
2. I explain what my job is and what I am like.
3. I speak about my main objective.

Conclusion

"To conclude, having been a teacher of English for about 10 years and having worked in different settings, I am confident I am good at my job and am ready to face any challenge. The experience has made me adaptable, resourceful and endlessly enthusiastic. However, at this point in my career I would like to try to face the ultimate challenge – using the experience I have gained to teach the language I was born with. And the cherry on the cake is the fact that I would be able to return to what I do at a new level and with a new mind. I would keep moving, but stay focused. This is my ultimate goal and my key motivation."

Let’s have a look at how I chose to structure my conclusion:
1. I repeat what my job is and what I am like (point 2 from the introduction).
2. I repeat my main objective (point 3 from the introduction).
3. I connect all the information to the quote and my addition to it (point 1 from the introduction).

Teachable moment

When you write an application essay: 
- Make your essay personal and unique;
- Address the topic directly and clearly;
- Organize your ideas logically;
- Be consistent and connect your points.

Essay writing aside, I want to emphasize that everything I wrote is absolutely true. These are not beautiful words I wanted to impress the readers with. I do want to keep moving but stay focused.

So, students, don’t be sad I’m going away for so long. You now know why I’m doing it. I’ll return. I’ll return to do what I do at a new level and with a new mind. See you in a year!

Photo by Irina Lutsenko

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