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27 September 2006

The Writing Life

Possibly this is an English teacher's dream, the fact that our county has decided to emphasize writing more than anything else this year. Yesterday we had a two-hour workshop designed to make non-English teachers feel better about incorporating more writing into their classrooms (before you get your panties in a wad, that's non-English teachers, not non-English-speaking teachers - think math, or science. The main motivation for this is that our 10th grade writing scores, right in line with those from the rest of the state, were AWFUL. I believe only 50% of the state passed the test last year.

Tomorrow, I (poor soul), will travel across the county to meet with another high school teacher so we can, ostensibly, develop a follow-up workshop. I quite literally have no idea what we are supposed to be developing, or how we are going to do it, and I'm not looking forward to it. So what's new?

Anyway, after discussing some of the workshop tidbits with my kids, I got the usual lazy-people questions: "Why do we even have to learn to write?" "What if we aren't going to do anything that involves writing a story (all compositions, fiction or non-fiction, beyond a paragraph equates to a "story" for my kids. Not an essay - a story). Blah, blah, blah.

Since I've been on the "end of western civilization" kick this week, I started wondering today if it ever occured to me, or my school peers, to question why we need to learn how to write well. I just don't remember ever having such thoughts. We might have complained about the assignments themselves (I know we did), but never about the underlying assumption that writing was important.

Sigh. I promise something cheerier by the weekend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The number one complaint about new hires in the workforce is that they cannot string words together into a coherent sentence. No matter what your profession, you need to be able to communicate clearly in writing, in a manner that will not embarrass your employer.

A little hard work now will reap benefits throughout their careers.