Monday, October 02, 2006

The learning curve

OK, first, I can't write about politics today. I've had it. Over the last couple of weeks I have become such an angry, depressed person, and while I realized that, given the state of the nation, this is actually quite a rational response, I also know that I can't live like this for an extended period of time without bursting something. So I'm taking a break, breathing deeply, smelling the flowers, and in a minute, I'll be sitting on the porch with a pop and a book.

So what I want to tell you is that I love my students. They did something today that blew me away. It didn't really happen *today* - it's just that I noticed it today. Here's the deal:

Last night I was up until 1am grading papers. I don't like grading on the best of days, and grading late on a Sunday night is about as depressing as it gets, but somehow I fell into a groove and it wasn't too bad. But the papers themselves needed a lot of work, and so it was not a fun experience, because writing "C" and "D" is never a fun experience. I remember getting some of those, and it isn't fun on that end, either. I always worry about how students will take it, and I don't want to discourage them, especially when so many have struggled so hard with their writing already. So I was a little concerned about what the class' reaction would be.

I handed back the papers this morning, and then I met with several students to talk about the next essay they're working on. And I saw VASTLY improved writing this time around. They are starting to get it, they told me. They see how this drafting and revising thing could be useful for their writing.

And the kicker:
I met with two people today whose papers were barely passing. And they were enthusiastic about the next paper - they were looking ahead and thinking about what they were learning about writing.

I never expected that. Hunting me down, yelling at me, crying in my office - yes. Taking criticism so beautifully - no.

And the best part is, I know that the next papers will be better. They're starting to get it!

1 comment:

ken said...

Congratulations on your successful pedagogical moment(s)!
I have missed teaching writing because of exactly those moments. (The grading, however, I do not miss at all.)