Teaching, the Benefit was all Mine

I just completed my third year as a graduate assistant and it wouldn't surprise me to discover that I learned more in the course of the process than my students did. This sounds a lot worse than it is, I do not mean to insinuate that my students didn't learn from me, (they may have in spite of themselves) but rather that I learned more in the process than I can probably articulate.

In the Beginning

It started like any other new experience, I was excited and nervous and feeling unprepared. I was looking forward to passing on knowledge that I had gained from years of being on the other side of the desk. I was looking forward to addressing the needs of students like myself who struggled staying on top of assignments and deadlines.

But Then

Things are always good in the beginning, but after a while the questions start creeping in. Is this working? Is this the right approach? Is this what should be taught? I'm a questioner, I always have been and I usually reach this point in all things that I do when I start to wonder about the usefulness and efficacy of what is taking place. I started thinking about my own experiences as a student. I never had to take college writing and there I was teaching it. How did I learn to write, was it practice? I couldn't remember having a writing or grammar class after about 8th grade. I had to write papers but at some point along the way I had to figure it out or fail, I guess I figured it out. If this was the case for me then why are students required to take a year of writing? Is it because the other classes are too big to require the amount of writing that should be expected?

My Two Cents

For my part I would prefer to see time spent reading, thinking, discussing, and perhaps experiment with different forms of writing in all classes. Maybe this is what the focus is supposed to be but this is not the impression I got when I started nor is it what I see being implemented now. I feel the emphasis should be on improving the quality of thought and its expression over a variety of forms. Taking classes in electronic writing has made me aware of the vast differences in writing for the web
and the other types of writing I have done in my life, and the reality is this is where most writing will take place in the future. I would love to see this type of writing addressed in writing classes more consistently because I think there is value in the public processing that can take place in this form.

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