(It’s week 7 already!)
As I was rereading the essays for this week, I realized that I’ve had them in my mind for our last several discussions, so I kind of forgot that you haven’t read them yet. (And this is a thing that will happen to you, too, as you keep teaching: You will incline to assume that your students have done reading that they are unlikely to have done, because you’re having a conversation with them in your mind, so you’re investing them with knowledge that they couldn’t possibly have. It’s an occupational hazard.)
We’ve been talking about the tendency in all writers– including our students and ourselves– to approach revision with the wish that it will be superficial and quick, when in fact it is rarely either of those things. That’s what the readings by Sommers and Harris are about.
What do you find in them that you could use to:
- show your students the contours of the kind of revision that you have in mind for them; and
- convince them that this kind of revision– which is probably much more substantial than any they have done before– is worth the significant time and effort it takes to do it?
Then, also: How might we use the Tompkins essay to think about these pedagogical dilemmas and others? I love that essay, personally, and I find in it a valorization of endless revision on both sides of the desk. I am curious to hear what you find useful here in your first semester of teaching, when you are revising a syllabus that is new to you as you are also finding your footing in the classroom.
And one last thing: Sometime very soon, I will ask you again to give me a student paper or two that represents a grading dilemma for you. (We have touched on the subject of grades, and I think we need to return to that subject, no?) So, keep this in mind as you’re grading and look for essays that will give us a chance to talk about grading issues that are recurrent and pressing for you.