[NCTE-TALK:2399] writing teachers' writing/reactions

Sat, 20 Jan 1996 14:54:08 -0500

New semester...new students...remedial comp class, Roosevelt University,
Chicago suburban campus. Yesterday I gave a diagnostic exam
question--in-class top-of-head essay
(Pick an important invention of the 20th century and tell how it changed
people's lives)

To us, that calls for a comparison/contrast form, right?
Before fax, (points 1,2,3)...after fax (points 1,2,3)
Point 1 (before/after fax)
Point 2 (before/after fax)
Point 3 (before/after fax)

with suitable intro and conclusion.

Anyway, I explained that I did not expect them to finish, and these would
not be graded--merely diagnostic to help me analyze strengths and see where
we needed work.

I had writing I needed to do for my Japanese editor, and spent the hour
happily writing in front of them, working out discussion questions for the
article on Japanese senior execs' computer phobias and implications for
international competitveness.

At the end of class, two students asked
what I'd been doing, and if my papers on the desk were part of their
assignment for the next session. I said no, and explained. Great smiles on
students' faces, as they realized I am, as they put it, "not just a teacher,
but do something real."

They were also happy to see my scratch-outs and x's and re-starts and

I hadn't planned things that way (needed to upload e-mail to meet
publication deadline), but it seems to have gotten us off to a good start.