Dear LORD! (or, as Sassie Cassie says, “Dear Holy Potatoes!” That may be my new favorite phrase…)
I met my Tuesday/Thursday kids today and we had a pretty good class. I started out by giving them Rick’s brilliant piece about the rude intrusion of winter, though many of them failed to really appreciate the depth and nuance of the piece (sorry, Rick – I had higher hopes than they actually attained), and we finished working on the notes I’ve been giving them about the writing process (as described in their textbook, mind you. I’m not sure there IS such a thing as a teachable writing process – I think everyone’s got to come to their writing in whatever way works for them but, for the sake of college-wide consistency, I’m teaching the book…). The trouble came at the end of class.
I announced that we were going to stop talking about writing and get down to doing some writing. There were a few groans here and there, which I good-naturedly shrugged off by saying that, c’mon, People, it’s a COMPOSITION class. You knew, coming in, that you’d have to write! Really!
The assignment is this, exactly and in its entirety: the students are to write two one-page papers on two different topics of their own choosing (so long, of course, as those topics are appropriate for a college classroom). The papers are initial drafts – I likely won’t see them, but they’ll be used in a peer-review workshop next week. That means they don’t have to be perfect, or typed, or even really complete; they’re works-in-progress. Anyway, when they’re finished writing their two one-page papers, they are to write a reflection on the process they went through while writing.
You would have thought, to hear them, that I’d asked for a 20 page, single-spaced, researched and cited report on the financial implications of the falling price of tofu in Minneapolis.
One student actually said that writing the reflection would be like “going to get a shot.” “YEAH!” another one shot back, “…in the FACE!”
I’m going to send them all a reinforcement email, just to make sure that everyone is clear about the assignment (because it was hard to hear over all that WHINING!) and because I’ve got a couple of special-needs students who would benefit from having the assignment in black and white.
Then I’m going to sit back and see how it goes.