Posts Tagged ‘helping writers


Motivating students – when “giving a sh*t” meets the “oh sh*t” moment

Think about the students you have the most difficult time dealing with. Plagiarists. The back row slouchers. The grade grubbers who complain their A- is not an A. In-class texters. The sleepers who are dead to the world. Know-it-alls who insult other students with in-class comments and then don’t listen to the rest of the class. The smart kid who won’t say a peep in class but then complains about their class participation. The student who wants you to tell you exactly how you want the paper. The student who writes that you are impossible to please on the end-of-class evaluations. We all have them. Some educators take the approach of taking pleasure in these students’ failures, saying that these students deserve to fail. And maybe they do. But sometimes they need motivation. Or more importantly, a way to tap into their own motivation and keep it charged. Continue reading ‘Motivating students – when “giving a sh*t” meets the “oh sh*t” moment’


Helping someone who hates writing

They say that those that can’t do, teach. I’m proof of that rule. But it is in the reflections on why I can’t do that I learn the most about what I teach.

When I got my first writing center gig, the director asked me to write a short biography for the website. Scanning the other tutors’ entries for the inspiration, I noticed many of my new colleagues were “haunted by the power of language” or “loved the experience of putting words on the page.” Knowing the passion of my colleagues, I don’t doubt their sincerity, but I know that if I was going to wax nostalgic about learning to write, I’d be lying. So I started my biography off with three words: “I hate writing.” Continue reading ‘Helping someone who hates writing’

Good Writer, Bad Writer

Good writer, bad writer reflects the philosophy behind the first writing lesson I attempt to teach students. Too many of them come into college believing that their writing abilities are set in stone. The bad writers continue to struggle, and the good writers don't take enough risks in their writing, figuring that any misstep will throw them back into the "bad writer" category.

Good writer, bad writer is my attempt to break the power of that dichotomy. On here, I share the lessons and attitudes that I teach, but I also talk about the attitudes I have towards my own writing since many of those have informed my own teaching. Thanks for visiting.

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