This morning I have been researching ways I might be able to light a fire under my writing class. I know writing can be at hard at times, but I also know the joy of writing a piece that touches others. I’m passionate about writing. Writing is like breathing for me. So how do I pass this knowledge on to a reluctant class who all have all landed in my class because they are poor writers? I recognize when I need help.
The “Busy Teacher” website has given me some ideas to try. One thing is group work. I’ve avoided team work because I have such a wide variety of ages and skill levels. The website claims that student interaction will help them get excited. I don’t know. I always hated group work when I was in school because I ended up doing most of the work. But this class is a challenge, and I am determined not to fail them, so I will try it.
My students believe writing and learning grammar rules are exercises they have to endure in order to do what they really want to do. It’s my job to brand in their brains that writing —no matter what they choose to do — is also something they will have to do. First of all, they will have to write a resume and cover letter to get a job. Once they get the job, they will be expected to communicate in email and other correspondence to people with whom they work. They might have to write reports detailing a situation or a problem. They might also have to write a letter of resignation. But right now, the only thing my class sees is a grade at the end of sixteen weeks.
I must admit I am frustrated by their blank stares, and I’m almost at the point of not wanting to face them twice a week. I’ve never had such an unmotivated class in my whole teaching experience. By now, I’ve always inspired several students to want to write more than what required for an assignment. But not this class.
So, every Monday and Wednesday evening, I stand in front of their blank stares with enthusiasm, hoping for a miracle–that a few will follow me down a writing path. Until I find the answer, I keep telling myself, “They are not lazy; I just haven’t inspired them yet!”
Anybody else have such difficulty with students? What do you do when faced with such indifference? I’m all ears!