Writing teachers tell what’s on their minds

Writing teachers who sign up for my monthly ezine are given the opportunity to complete a short, anonymous  survey about themselves.  The survey form has a spot where they can add additional comments.  About a third of new Writing Points subscribers complete the survey. Even fewer add comments, but those few provide valuable information.

Teachers don’t enjoy saying they are having trouble with some classroom issue any more than students do. So anonymous comments are a useful glimpse into what’s on the minds of writing teachers. Some of those from the last four to five months are below. I’ve updated the list with comments received in September because teachers signing up for the newsletter recently include many more inexperienced teachers who feel totally unprepared for teaching nonfiction writing.

I have included information about the anonymous respondent if it was not included in the comments. Also, for you convenience, I’ve grouped the comments by the teaching assignments of the respondents.

Public school writing teachers

· “I could really use help with the core curriculum requirements for analytic essays and objective summaries.”  [Public school teacher, 16 or more years’ experience teaching writing, says preparation for teaching nonfiction writing wasbetter than average]  September 2012

· “I teach in low income schools – so we have several outside factors that bleed over into the classroom. Add to that, our administration is worried only about numbers. So I graduation rate has been going up, but there is no way these kids are college/career ready. I feel like we’re failing our students. But that has only gotten me picked on by admnistration and given all the ‘tough’ kids. Which, ironically, I prefer. Everyone thinks teaching AP-Pre-AP is such s testament to their teaching skills. But I am with you, the kids who willing take harder classes are easy to motivate. They come in motivated! If you can get an 17 yr old gang-banger, who is only coming to school as part of his probation, to write poetry? That is a true measure of what you can do.”   [Public school teacher, 5-9 years’ experience teaching writing, says preparation for teaching nonfiction writing was less than average]  September 2012

· “I was a business teacher who was excessed but had enough credits to obtain a second certification in English. Last year I taught 10th grade literature and only got by because I sat in my colleagues classrooms and copied their lessons. This year no one else is teaching non-fiction writing to 11th and 12th graders. I’m so overwhelmed and confused. I don’t know where to start.” [Public school teacher, less than 1 year experience teaching writing, says was totally unprepared for teaching nonfiction writing.]  September 2012

· “THANK YOU for supplying this information. I might be able to figure out what I’m supposed to do now.”  [Public school teacher, less than 1 year experience teaching writing, says was totally unprepared for teaching nonfiction writing.] September 2012

· “I stumbled upon this website accidentally, but I really appreciate the content and free downloads. I need all the help I can get. ” [Public school teacher, less than 1 year experience teaching writing, says was totally unprepared for teaching nonfiction writing.] September 2012

· “I teach in an online high school and am working on curriculum for the common core standards. ” [Public school teacher, 16 or more years’ experience teaching writing]

· “Teach me how to teach less but better in writing essays.” [Public school teacher,  16 or more years’ experience teaching writing]

· “Critical thinking and problem solving and delivery. I am a theater teacher” [Public school teacher, 16 or more experience teaching writing]

· “My students are all special needs.” [Public school teacher, 16 or more years’ experience teaching writing]

Private school writing teachers

· “I really want to know the stages of teaching writing to young learners, teenagers, and adults.” [Private school teacher, 1-4 years’ experience teaching writing]

· “I am currently teaching 7th through 12 English as a summer course and see that their writing skills are very weak. I want to instruct them well for the next few weeks and give them some tools.” [Private school teacher, 16 or more years’ experience teaching writing]

· “I teach in a low economical area where students are years behind educationally. Where I am expected to get them to grade level by the end of the year. ” [Private school teacher, 5-9 years’ experience teaching writing]

· “I have been teaching for more than 15 years. English is a second language in my country, however as we are multi-racial here, English language has become the 3rd or 4th language used especially in rural areas like I am teaching now. Students begin to be interested in the language itself but I wonder how can I really do my part in improving them in all 4 skills.” [Private school teacher]

College and university faculty

· “I am especially interested in help with teaching ESL/ELL students the art of academic writing.” [College/university faculty,  1-4 years’ experience teaching writing] September 2012.

· “Any ideas that pertain to the new Common Core ELA would be greatly appreciated!” [College/university faculty,  16 or more years’ experience teaching writing]

Adult education teachers

· “I am a recently retired high school Special Education teacher who is now working with adults through a local literacy program.” [Adult education teacher, 10-15 years’ experience teaching writing]

· “I have learn’t technical writing.” [Adult education teacher, 5-9 years’ experience teaching writing]

Homeschool writing teachers

· “I am a mother of a 15 year old upcoming Sophomore in high school. I would like to “hit two birds with one stone”. I would like to supplement my daughter’s English skills with a summer course to teach her better reading comprehension and writing skills, while also refresh my skills to re-enter college in 3 years. ” Homeschooler, 1-4 years’ experience teaching writing]

· “I will be teaching ten students in a homeschool co-op, middle school to high school level. I have taught grammar and am a fairly good writer, but I’m overwhelmed at the scope of what should be covered in a one-year writing course at this level.”  [Homeschool, students ages 13-15, 1-4 years’ experience teaching writing]

Tutors or teachers-in-training

· “Help, please. I teach special ed students with learning disabilities.”  [Tutor or teacher-in-training, 1-4 years’ experience teaching writing]

First published Aug 25, 2012

[The last issue of Writing Points was published in November 2013. I closed the website on which it appeared at the end of 2013.]

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