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In this Salon piece, "Death to High School English," Kim Brooks, who teaches composition, shares her greatest encouragement in teaching:
[when a student says that] thanks to me, and the hours she herself has put in, she feels as though, in some small way, her writing has improved, or that she knows what she needs to do to improve, or that she can at least envision a future in which she is a better, more confident and more forceful writer of prose, and I tell her that no matter what, no matter how hard it is, she has to keep plowing ahead, because slow but steady progress as a reward for hard work is one of the few things we can count on in this life - if we're lucky, that is - and then I tell myself the same.
For twenty years online I have been basking in such comments, and sometimes watching as my students go on to write for an Ivy league student newspaper, or go to seminary with the promise of writing really good sermons, or even become English teachers themselves. Those are the stars, whose success I may have only a small part in. But for the ones who have a harder time, if I can help them remedy a pesky but debilitating grammar problem, or learn how to structure their writing, or just give them the satisfaction of saying what they mean to say so that others can receive it - those give the greatest satisfaction.
Making a difference, improving someone's writing - that makes this work rewarding. Let me show you how I can help . . .
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Writing Assessment Services online, I am preparing some great offers for the summer and for the coming school year. Watch this space!
I learned in January of a fascinating website, Words with JAM, the ezine for writers and publishers, that features a monthly "Cornerstones Mini Masterclass." A writer submits the first page of a manuscript and Ayisha Malik, Managing
Editor of Cornerstones Literary Consultancy, completes an in-depth critique of that page for
Take a look at the February 2016 post, a critique of Rosette: A Novel of Pioneer Michigan. I thought my students would enjoy seeing me put my own writing under close scrutiny. :-) I added a comment on the site inviting readers to learn more at RosetteBook.com .