|My good friend, Nancy King, sends this note to her students when she first grades their papers. I love what she says. I can't say it any better. So with her permission, I am letting you read this.|
Hi,I remember getting my papers back when I was in college taking my first Englishclasses. Before that, I had always gotten good grades on my writing in school, and Ienjoyed taking English classes. (I guess that’s partly why I’m an English teacher today.)But when I went to college, things changed. I didn’t always get A’s on my papers.Sometimes a paper that I thought was terrific came back to me with a disappointing gradeand lots of red marks on it. Sometimes when I looked carefully at the professor’s comments, Icould see why the paper had gotten the grade that it did, but sometimes I thought theprofessor was just plain wrong. Worst of all was when I thought the professor hadignored what I’d done well in the paper and had focused only on the mistakes and onwhat had been left out.You may experience those same feelings as you read my comments and view the scoreon your first essay draft. Please, as you read, keep these points in mind:1. The score I have given your essay draft is NOT a grade, and it is definitely not agrade of you as a writer or as a person. It is a score for the essay draft I read at aparticular point in time. The score indicates my estimation of how much revision yourdraft still needs in order to be ready for the final portfolio, which you’ll submit at the endof the term.2. I have tried to give you praise for what you did well in your essay as well as givesuggestions for how to improve some parts of it. I may not always give your draft all thepraise it deserves, and you may not find all of my suggestions to be helpful. I have mygood days and my bad days, too. You have the right to disagree with my evaluation, butconsider it carefully first.3. I am not the instructor who will grade the final portfolio you submit at the end of thisterm. Two other English 100 instructors will grade it, giving it either a “Pass” or a “NoPass” grade. My job right now is to coach you in essay-writing to the best of my abilityso that you continue to develop the skills that will enable you to revise and improve eachessay and build a passing final portfolio.4. Above all, keep in mind that good writing is almost always the result of a process ofrevising, revising and more revising. Expect to revise each of your “final” drafts at leastone more time, and watch your essays improve with each draft.Any questions about my responses or scoring? Please ask.Nancy
|And I. . .||
I can't say that my
experience was the same as hers. My response tends to be the
opposite. I tend to rewrite to make my essay fit exactly what
my teacher and peers suggest, sometimes to the detriment of my
essay. However, much of what she writes echoes my sentiments.
Please keep in mind -- no matter what your reaction is to my score and comments on your essays -- that my comments are geared to help you improve your essay. If you don't understand why I made a certain suggestion or comment, please ask about it. (Sometimes, upon rereading, I find I screwed up!) I consider myself a coach and both of us are working toward the same goal: that you gain the skills needed to pass English 100 and do fine in English 101.
And as they say in the movie Throw Momma From the Train, "Writers write. Always." So write on!