I am instantly reminded of what new students repeatedly tell me when they
learn that I only grade papers in pencil; it usually goes something like this:
"I'm so glad you do that. In high school, the teachers cut my writing apart
with red ink. It looked like blood all over the page when I got it back."
So I think public educators do bear some responsibility, if only the
psyschological baggage that these timid writers must carry over into college.
Worse than that, however, is how some secondary public educators cast _US_
to their students, in oft-repeated remarks of this sort:
"Well if you think I'm tough on your papers, just wait until you get to
If students already live in fear, imagine how they'll come to dread fresh comp!
Many of these educators may themselves have been "torn apart" by their own
writing instructors when they wrote papers to earn their degrees. They are
still carrying the scars, and inflicting similar wounds on their students,
since secondary methods courses usually only spend a few hours covering "how
to teach writing," leaving them to rely on teaching the way they were taught.