[NCTE-TALK:2382] writing teachers writing

Wed, 17 Jan 1996 10:25:42 -0600

I'm so glad Martha Bogart de-lurked! I think you have raised such an important
point -- that our writing is who we are, as opposed to our math problems --
although not doing well in math also exposes us in a way. I remember the first
piece that I brought to my first writing group...a piece about my daughter's
learning problems as well as her triumphs...I must have done 12 drafts before I
shared it...what if my writing uncovered my big secret...that I'm a fraud! I'm
really stupid and no one up till that point saw that stupidity! I had to learn
to trust that group before I would show them an early draft of my writing...and
I learned from that experience that many of my students feel that same anxiety
about their work, especially since many of them have been told for years that
they are poor writers. Ieventually wrote an article that was published in the
May issue of Teaching English in the Two Year College entitled "The Mathematics
of Writing: Shaping Attitude in Composition Classes" ... I compared writing
anxiety to math anxiety (something many of us "Englishy-types" can relate to!)
and then offered some methods for reducing writing anxiety. I don't think I
ever would have understood this aspect of the writing process if I hadn't had
to face my own fears about exposing who I really am through my writing.
Sharing writing with your classes also raises some of the fears, but
the students really do like to see what you're doing...it's sort of like
jumping into the pool for the first time!