ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 135, Thursday, April 24, 2008
I was pleased to see today that the 9th graders seem to fully understand how serious I am about producing 'perfect' essays for their collaboration projects. I've set very high standards for the essays, and the kids seem to believe that I'm totally in earnest about expecting flawlessness. Not only that, they seem to think they can do it -- and that's what really pleases me. They believe in themselves as serious readers and writers, as talented and resolute students of high school English. For two years, I have held them to the highest standards, and as a result they now expect it of themselves.
In the 8th grade classes today, I set a very specific goal for the lesson: to find two writing techniques in the model essay that they could imitate in their own essays. Unfortunately, some of my lesson goals are not so specific, and therefore the kids, now and again, don't get a clear picture of exactly what they are supposed to accomplish. Today, though, there was no uncertainty about what the lesson was aiming for, what task I wanted the students to perform. They had a clear job to do, which made it much easier for them to do it.