Last weekend, I shared one of my favorite stories with a small group of college students enrolled in my English Methods course at Medaille College. I think about that story often and it serves as a constant reminder that everything I say or do while in school has the potential to make a monumental impact on my students. Afterward, it got me thinking about some of my own experiences as a kid, and there’s one above all the others that stands out.
In 7th grade, one English assignment required us to write an original poem to demonstrate our understanding of mood and imagery. I don’t remember much from the assignment other than procrastinating until the night before to actually put something down on paper. The result was actually quite good. I remember being proud enough to show my parents before submitting it the next day.
I didn’t realize it then, but that assignment would ultimately shape my life and help shape my career as an English teacher. Below is a scan of the original poem. Read closely the red-inked comment from my teacher.
I was devastated by my teacher’s remarks. By suggesting that the poem was too good to be my own, I felt that he was implying that I was stupid. Whether this was his intention or not, it has stayed with me and I think of it every time I write critiques or constructive criticism on my own students’ works.
Your job as a teacher is to influence. The scary part is that you don’t know how or when that influence will happen.
Save to delicious Saved by 0 users