Who am I? That is a simple question, yet it is one without a simple answer. I am many things—and I am one thing. But I am not a thing that is just lying around somewhere, like a pen, or a toaster, or a housewife. That is for sure. I am much more than that. I am a living, breathing thing, a thing that can draw with a pen and toast with a toaster and chat with a housewife, who is sitting on a couch eating toast. And still, I am much more.
I am a man.
And I am a former baby and a future skeleton, and I am a distant future pile of dust. I am also a Gemini, who is on the cusp.
I am “brother” and I am “son” and I am “father” (but just according to one person, who does not have any proof but still won’t seem to let it go). Either way, I am moving very soon and not letting her know about it. I am asking you to keep that between us.
I am trustworthy and loyal, but at the same time I am no Boy Scout. No, I am certainly not. I am quite the opposite, in fact. And by opposite I do not mean Girl Scout. No. I mean Man Scout. And by that I do not mean Scout Leader. In fact, I am not affiliated with the Scouts at all. Let’s just forget about the Scouts and Scouting altogether, O.K.?
I am concepts and thoughts and feelings and outfits. And I am each of these all at once, unless I am in the shower. Then I am not outfits, because that would be uncomfortable.
To some I am known as Chief. And these are usually people who work in Radio Shack or try to sell me shoes. To others I am known as Buddy. These are people who dwell in bars and wonder if I’ve got a problem or what it is that I am “looking at.” And to still others, who are in that same bar, standing just off to the side, I am “Get Him!”
I am he and I am him. I am this and I am that. And I am, from time to time, Roberta, if I am in a chat room.
People have known me by many titles. In high school, I was Student and Key Club Vice-President and Queer Bait. In college, I was Pledge and then Disappointed and then Transfer Student. I am still amazed at how picky certain so-called “brotherly” organizations can be. And I am actually glad that they didn’t choose me for their stupid fraternity.
To some I am fantasy, and to others I am Frank, mostly because I have told them that this is my name—even though it is not even close to my name. I am a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a pita. Why the pita? That counts as another mystery.
I am everything and I am nothing. I am just kidding; I am not everything and nothing. That would be ridiculous. I am just everything.
I am what I eat. And I am this especially when I bite my nails.
I have been called Hey, You! and Get Out of the Way! and Look Out! And then, some time later, Plaintiff.
I am my own worst critic. I am going to give you an example. “That’s not me enough” is the kind of thing I am prone to say about myself. See what I mean? I am sure you do.
I am the silent majority.
I am a loud minority.
I am not talking about Puerto Ricans when I say that, because I am not a racist. I am just clearing that up. In fact, I am pretty sure I have at least one friend from each of the races (Hi, Guillermo).
I am friend. I am foe. I am fo’ sho’. What up, y’all?
I am sorry about that. I was just talking to one of my race friends, a black one. I am white and I am black. And I am both of these when I am dressed as a mime. And then I am sh-h-h.
I am Batman, but only on Halloween. And then I am not invited to many parties. But I am fine with that, because that just makes me an even more accurate Batman (because Batman does not go to parties as Batman but only as Bruce Wayne). I am right about this.
I am someone who likes to go to the park. But I am not the guy with the Labrador retriever and the tennis ball and the tattered book under his arm, who is wearing fleece and is kind of tan. No. I am not that guy. I am sick of that guy and all the women who talk to him.
I am the Walrus, but not the one you’re probably thinking of. I am the Other Walrus, the one who is less the Walrus in the sense of legendary music and more the Walrus in the sense of his tendency to lie around on a beach for too long.
I am bravery. I am courage. I am valor. I am daring. I am holding a thesaurus.
I am the sun. I am the moon. I am the rain, I am the earth. I am these when I am taking mushrooms with Kevin. I am good friends with Kevin. I am not sure what Kevin’s last name is.
I am sometimes referred to as Excuse Me in an annoyed tone of voice, because apparently I am in the way. I am so sorry. I am supposed to be some sort of mind reader, I guess. I am moving out of the way now as slowly as I possibly can. I am doing this and there’s nothing you can do about it.
I am often the one they call You but I am no more You than you. I am me. And I am more Me than you are or can ever be. And one time I was Corey for almost five minutes while I was talking with a stranger, until she realized that I was not her friend Corey.
I am neither here nor there, but there—a little to the left. Yeah. That’s me.
I am waving at you. I am waving right at you now.
I am looking right at you.
I am sensing that you don’t know me. I am starting to feel awkward.
I am getting out of here. ♦
- Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable for each student
- Who Am I? Example Essay printable for each student
- Expository Essay Rubric printable for each student
- Lesson Exit Survey printable for each student
- Rubric for Writing Informational Essays printable for each student
- Optional: projector
1. Write following student task on the board or have it projected for students to view.
Write a well-organized autobiographical essay that tells all about you. Title the piece ‘Who Am I?’ or create your own title. Include details on your:
- Likes and Dislikes
- Goals and Aspirations
- Life-changing Experiences
2. Either make one copy of the Who Am I? Example Essay printable for each student or create your own essay. The latter is recommended to serve as a means of better connecting with your students. If you decide to create your own autobiographical essay, you may want to complete a copy of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable and display it using a projector. Otherwise, display the blank the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable for the class to view together.
3. Print copies of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable, Who Am I? Example Essay printable, Expository Essay Rubric printable, Lesson Exit Survey printable, and Rubric for Writing Informational Essays printable for each student.
Step 1: Have students answer the following: What is one word or phrase that you would use to describe yourself? What person or experience do you think made you that way?
Step 2: Inform students that you will be reading a brief piece that will allow them to learn a bit more about you. Read aloud your model autobiographical essay.
Step 3: Reveal and explain the task to students (listed in the "Set Up and Prepare" section above). Distribute the Writing to Inform rubric printables, the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? and Who Am I? Example Essay printables to the students.
Step 4: Review the rubric with the class and make sure that all students understand the requirements of the task. Display a copy of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable on a projector. Then explain how to complete each section of the organizer.
Step 5: Have students complete the first two sections of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable.
Step 6: Students will fill in the remainder of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable independently.
Step 7: After completing the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable, students should use the information to write an essay draft using the Who Am I? Example Essay printable as a model.
- Set students up in partnerships and have them conduct peer revising and editing.
- Plan a publishing party to celebrate student writing. If possible, invite parents and staff. Post student writing throughout the room and allow time for guests to peruse. Allow a few students to orally present their pieces.
Students will ask parents, older siblings, and other members of their household the following question: "How do you feel that living with you influences me?" Instruct students to use the responses of their family members to add details to their "Who Am I" essays.
- Students use completed graphic organizers to write the first draft of their "Who Am I" essays.
- Students use thesauruses to revise their first drafts to make essays more engaging.
Use the Rubric for Writing Informational Essays printable to assess student writing.
- Create autobiographical essays
- Use appropriate adjectives to describe themselves
- Use a graphic organizer to plan their written pieces
Students complete the Lesson Exit Survey printable at the conclusion of the lesson.