Sometimes I get nervous about the future. Well, not sometimes; it’s more like a lot of times. Part of the problem is that I’m a worrier, like my grandmother; I worry about a great many things, but one of my biggest worries is that I won’t be able to serve my students in the ways they need. That reason in itself is why this class was like a Tylenol to a stress headache. This was a class where I would find solutions to my nagging questions and troubles, and I was happy to have it on my spring schedule.
Like any other class I’ve had, I wasn’t sure what this class would hold. I knew that because it was a Dr. Miller class it would be thought provoking, and this was what I needed if I wanted to progress my thinking on teaching writing. I was right; everything was discussion based, and it was very much to my benefit. I’ve always been more of a listener than a talker when it comes to class discussion, and though I felt comfortable to speak up, I learned quite a bit from listening to my peers’ thoughts and research on teaching writing. Every day when I came into the room and sat down in my chair (because it was my chair; funny how we still stick to one spot for the most part, isn’t it?) I knew I’d be treated to discussing topics that were as important to me as they were to everyone else I shared the room with.This was one of my favorite parts of this class; rarely can you find a class where individuals are treated as not only colleagues rather than students, but as people with something valuable to say.
Exploring writing itself and doing my own research has also been an experience I’ve found worthwhile. The best part was that I gained information on topics I wouldn’t have expected. Did I think I would be studying the scribal houses of Mesopotamia? No. Did it benefit my knowledge on writing and how I will teach writing in my classroom? Absolutely. That’s the way it was for everything I took in this semester; reading about the history of teaching writing and comparing it to more contemporary theories was fascinating, and I found kinship with many of the authors we read (subtle shoutout to Anne Lamott inserted here). The evolution of writing is fascinating, but what’s more fascinating is how many methods there are to teach writing. I personally favor a mix between Anne Lamott, Nancie Atwell, and a dash of Linda Flower, but it’s to each their own.
I’ve had a few favorite assignments here and there (From Erasmus, With Love and A not-so-detailed account of a writer, if you’d like to know), but I can’t exaggerate how much I’ve grown as a writer. Once you study writing in itself and reflect on how you are going to teach it to twenty-or-so eager minds, seeing how you can improve your own writing becomes a little less murky. This is especially important, because it’s prepared us to help our students find what they need most: a voice. Our primary goal in teaching writing is to help our students find a way to express themselves, engage with others, and become an active participant in the world around them; because I have gone through this process myself, I feel better equipped to help my students to the same.
Though I can’t exactly say how things will fall into place when I get my classroom, I can say I’ll be prepared. Much of my anxiety about teaching writing has up and gone, and all due credit goes to this class. I’m armed with knowledge I hadn’t had prior to this course, and having the opportunity to learn with everybody has been irreplaceable.
Photo CC: Odyssey Online