So I just finished reading and marking the first batch of essays from my Grade 10 class, which is a mix of students from very different backgrounds, a lot of recent immigrant students and ELL (English Language Learner) students. The topics were fairly personal and oriented towards that age, but the results were revealing. A couple of students wrote about their difficult relationships with their (the topic was the things that make me happy). Another student confessed afterwards that he has never written anything on what he wanted to be, and how good it felt to put thoughts down on paper. Finally, another student (and this one was somewhat emotional) wrote on the difficulties of adapting to life in Canada, missing old friends, being picked on in school and community, and not having a voice to speak up (the student is very shy speaking around classmates). This is why English is an important class - it can provide a place for students to speak their mind, even if it is just simple words on paper.