Tutor profile: Jessica D.
My professor said my introduction didn't have a thesis statement, but I told them what my paper was going to be about in the beginning of the paragraph. I said, "This paper will be about why the article we read says that gun control has to happen in America to make school safer." What did I do wrong?
You didn't exactly do anything wrong, you just need to reword your thesis statement a little. First, you don't need to be quite this literal when you're writing a thesis statement. If you've ever heard someone say it is better to show, not tell, in your writing, this is sort of the same thing. You don't need to tell your professor what you plan to do, you just need to do it. Instead of, "This paper will be about why the article says that America needs gun control to make schools safe," you can state your argument: "According to the article, American needs gun control to make schools safe." Also, you need to state the title of the article and the author in your thesis statement. Of course, your professor knows this information, but she needs to see that you can effectively integrate sources into an essay, and clearly stating the title and author of your sources is a key piece of source integration. This can be done by using this template: "According to the article "Article Title" by "Author of Article," (state your argument here." For this assignment, let's just say the article was titled "Unsafe Schools" and written by news journalist Martha Raddatz. You would say, "According to the article "Unsafe Schools" by Martha Raddatz, America needs gun control to make schools safe." You would also want to give some more information in your thesis. Why do we need gun control? How does it make schools safe? It depends on your assignment, what level of composition class you are taking, and what you professor is looking for (sometimes they will give very specific instructions), but I generally suggest giving three reasons why your thesis is right. For example, for your essay your thesis would look something like this: According to the article "Unsafe Schools" by Martha Raddatz, America needs gun control to make schools safe because the threat of an active shooter leads to school-related anxiety, a sense of distrust in peers and faculty, and time and money spent on shooter drills can be used to fund social-emotional learning.
My professor asked me to write an essay about what I think the author is saying in the book we read, but she said not to use "I." How do I explain what I think the author is saying without saying "I think?"
There are ways around this! What I always tell students to do is believe in their thoughts. State your opinion as if they were facts. Instead of, "In the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, I think the author is trying to show the audience that the social pressure to conform to white supremacy is fiercely dangerous," you can simply say, "In the novel "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, the author shows the audience that the social pressure to conform to white supremacy is fiercely dangerous." This tells you professor what you think in an academically formal manner. What you're really doing here is making an argument regarding what your perspective of the novel was. Later in your paper, you will use textual evidence to prove this argument.
How do I begin to write my essay on this news article I was assigned?
First, read the essay prompt given to you by your professor, and then read the entire article. If there are any words you don't know, look them up in a dictionary or online. Highlight, underline, or otherwise mark any phrases or sentences you feel might be helpful to your paper based on what the prompt is asking you. After you have finished reading and marking up, we can begin outlining your essay together.