Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Under siege by student writers

I'm under siege this afternoon, doing individual conferences on final paper drafts with one film student after another all day long. I did the same thing yesterday and I'll do the same thing tomorrow. These conferences are optional, so naturally, the students who are most in need of help with their writing have not signed up, while the best students are coming in to work one-on-one to perfect their papers.

The American Lit Survey class turned in drafts last week after an in-class peer review session, and I was so impressed by the excellent suggestions students made on each others' drafts that I found very little to suggest myself. Meanwhile, my creative nonfiction class is workshopping final paper drafts all this week. They're so proficient at reading and responding to each others' papers that I generally get to sit there and listen, but this morning I had to interject. "You've all written lovely personal essays," I said, "but unfortunately, that's not what the assignment calls for." Good thing they've got a week to revise!

I've left just enough space between student appointments to snatch a few minutes here and there for lunch and class preparations and trips to the rest room, but as soon as I get started on something, I look up to see another student at my door seeking help. Which is fine. I enjoy working with them, particularly when they're working so hard. Still, I'll be glad when tomorrow is over and I can get back to business as usual--which, starting Friday, will include grading all those papers that now exist only as drafts.

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