Monday, April 18, 2016

The Challenges Writing Teachers Face

"A great teacher makes hard things easy." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Well-crafted written communication is one the hardest things to teach. Consider the complexity of the task.
Many students are uninterested in learning to write well. They do not consider this a necessary skill for life.
Good writing takes time. There is a process of writing and revision. Students are not rewarded by immediate gratification.
There is the matter of recognition of good writing which comes through reading well-written material. Many students lack good reading skills. Those who like to read often fail to distinguish mediocre work from truly great literature.
There is the problem of distraction so that students have difficulty organizing their thoughts.
There is the additional challenge of logical order and sequence of ideas. Students often lack the critical thinking that this requires.
Good writing also requires grasp of grammar and syntax. Writing teachers spend a great deal of time teaching and re-teaching grammar.
Students tend to stay in their comfort zones when it comes to vocabulary. They do not stretch themselves by employing more sophisticated language unless they are challenged.
Teaching students how to write well is no simple task. Writing teachers who can do this should receive special honors. In some cases, the honor comes years later when a former student's work is published in a prestigious magazine. Sometimes, the former student takes the time to write a lovely letter to his writing teacher in which he acknowledges her influence and thanks her.
That happened this week for me. Thankful! Very thankful!
Alice C. Linsley

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