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Those moments when teaching writing is worth it…

December 17, 2013

Since I use the portfolio method of teaching freshman writing, the end of semester can be brutal. Trudging through 80 portfolios in a few days is agonizing, especially when you see students who didn’t step up and put forth their best effort. However, their end-of-semester reflections always hold a few gems that keep my batteries charged. 

Here’s a couple of inspiring excerpts from student reflections:

Jessica: “Unlike previous teachers, I felt as if the work we did was actually important instead of it being just another assignment. Also unlike previous classes I have had, I never heard a bad word about someone’s writing that was just outright malicious and unhelpful. This lead to a more comfortable class and gave me confidence to read without fear of being called out on how awful my paper sounded… Coming in I was worried because my last English teacher had torn up my work and told me I was writing at a Jr. High level, but my fears were soon calmed… Starting off writing personal essays was an extremely positive thing for me, as it is a passion of mine to write stories. It allowed me to jump into something that I was comfortable with, and show my voice and writing style, while still getting accommodated with the feel of the class and what was expected…

The one thing I would definitely never change about this class is the way you grade. Though it’s a little nerve-wracking not knowing what your grade is on each essay, I have never had a more helpful class setup than this. Allowing us to turn in our papers without it being given a final grade, and thoroughly going over it as you do with extremely helpful feedback, for me added up to some of the best papers I have ever produced, and ones I plan on keeping for quite a while. 


Abigail: “The class began for me with a realization that maybe I wasn’t such a great writer. Throughout the semester, I’ve been working my writing muscles, and gaining strength. Now, I can confidently say that, although writing isn’t the most fun ever, I do enjoy it and I am sure of my abilities in being able to craft what I want to say in an appealing way… 

My first semester of college is now about over. Time is flying at the rate it always does, but with each year that passes, I get more and more aware of it slipping through my fingers, This writing class challenged me. Not only in my writing, but in the way I think and view things. My perspective is a bit wider and a bit clearer. I would say the most important thing I’ve learned is that writing has a sound. It has a feeling. Writing is heard, maybe not by the ears, but certainly by the soul.” 


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One Comment
  1. Wonderful! It is so good to get to share in your work via these posts. I have a feeling these students will be remembering you and your work with them for a long time…..

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