ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 158, Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Today my students performed the annual and very important ritual of looking back through their “essay binders”. Over this year they have written approximately one formal paper every week, and each of these was placed in their binders as the weeks passed. Today the kids looked through their accumulation of essays – their “body of work”, you might say – and I can’t help but believe it was a rewarding experience for them. First of all, they were able to appreciate the sheer amount of writing they did during the year. Flipping back through essay after essay after essay must have made them feel proud of how much formal writing they had produced. I think they also grew to understand the good quality of much of the writing. I asked them to select the assignment they thought was the most interesting to write, the one they found hardest, and the one that gave them the greatest feeling of accomplishment. The ensuing discussion was fascinating – and very satisfying for all of us. The kids felt good about what they had produced – the bountiful “yield” of their writing crop for the school year – and I felt pleased that they obviously considered themselves fairly proficient high school writers, as they should.