Today I have to grade a test I gave to my writing class last Wednesday. Part of me is anxious to see how they did, and the other part of me is dreading the chore. You see, if they did badly, I think I must be letting them down. But is that entirely true?
As a teacher of writing, I want everyone to find the joy in jotting down words of “wisdom” as much as I do. In reality, I know there may only be one out of the class who feels that way. My class is a pre-college course, and it makes me sad that these folks even have to be in such a class. It’s designed to help people learn or relearn the very basics of grammar and spelling. I wonder how could the educational system let them down; after all, most of the things I’m teaching they should have learned in elementary school or high school. It’s not their fault–or is it?
Learning is a two-way street. Teachers have to provide the inspiration for students to want to learn, and students have to provide the willingness to do the hard work it takes to learn even when the subject matter is as “dry as cornflakes without milk.”
My experience in school has shown me that a good teacher has the ability to make even dry cornflakes taste good. And that’s why I’m afraid to grade the test. Have I provided the milk and sugar to make the “grammar cornflakes” enticing enough to encourage my class to at least take a taste?