A3Writer: Lost Cause?
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lost Cause?

            When does something become a lost cause? When do you pack it in after all the failures? When is it simply too much? I’m not even talking about writing, though I’ve had my share of failures. I’m talking about teaching. Over the last few semesters there’s been a change in students. What worked a few semesters ago no longer works. But then, nothing seems to work. Trying to get reactions (or actions) out of the students is more difficult than ever. I look over my gradebooks at the number of students who don’t bother to turn in assignments, and have no idea how to get through to them.
            It’s not me, either. Every teacher I talk with, even on up to my brother the Ph.D. at a university, is reporting difficulties with students. They need hand-holding. They need ultra-specific directions, so that the instructions are actually longer than the essay assignment they’re supposed to write.
            I am at a loss. I don’t want to give up. Giving up feels wrong, especially when it comes to students, but I’m running out of ideas.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember an episode of writing excuses, where one of the hosts talks about how 80% is good enough. If you're expecting 100% from your students, they'll probably let you down. If you expect a little less and get them good enough to make it through the rest of their university career, then that's a win.

These kids don't need to be super star essay writers after your class. They just need to be able to complete a paper. As they write more papers through their university career, they'll get better.

Think about. In martial arts, it takes 5 years of continuous practice to learn the basics. This is before you even get any good. You get one or two semesters. Bring down your expectations but teach them enough to make it through, knowing they'll learn new things with each new paper they write.