[NCTE-TALK:2406] Re: "The Main Problem"

Bill Wiles (wmpwiles@sover.net)
Sat, 20 Jan 1996 15:03:32 -0500

At 08:25 AM 1/12/96 -0600, you wrote:
> I tired accessing RhetNet and couldn't. But I feel
>like responding to the text:
> "What if someone said that writing teachers, most of
>them, are not really writers, that they tend to shy away from
>the same challenges they ask students to face? What if someone
>said that this lack of engagement with the craft they teach was
>the root of most pedagogical evils? Fred so asserts."
> [Fred Kemp, "The Main Problem", RhetNet]
> Having spent the better part of our wonderful snow week
>grading papers and making out exams, I have some fairly strong
>feelings on the subject. First, I agree that most of us
>probably don't write as much as would be helpful to us and our
>students. But our failure to do so is not fear, not
>disinterest, but overwork. I work at least sixty hours a week
>and don't come close to keeping up. God sends snow to
>help me out.
> About ten years ago I started writing all the AP essays
>my students had to write and sharing my essays with students.
>Doing so changed my attitudes and the attitudes of some of my
>students. I treasure the more collegial atmosphere that
> As to "the root of most pedagogical evils," requiring
>English teachers to do more than is humanly possible has to
>rank right up there. Administrators are so busy these days
>with other matters that they know about the classroom only from
>hearsay and they haven't a clue about what teachers are asked
>to do.
> On the day before winter break, I received 19 special
>requests for assignments or reports - from resource teachers,
>homebound teachers, the court, etc.- all due immediately, on a
>day on which I had no planning period. It takes a couple of
>hours each week just to send attendance referrals. I'm also expected to
>call parents, send interims and report cards every four and a
>half weeks, stay after school whenever students request me to,
>serve on school committees and assorted other duties.
> Until teachers are given a reasonable work load, we'll
>continue to be too harried to do a first class job.
> Julia Shields
> Charlottesville, VA

Nothing more needs be said. Thank you, Julia.

Bill Wiles