Monday, December 03, 2012


When first reading this question, I initially thought, “Not really. I am the same person with, basically, the same set of belief systems about education and how I interact with other students, my professors, and my schoolwork has not changed since the beginning of the semester.” After honest evaluation, however, I have altered and improved as a student (I hope) in many ways because of my tutoring experience. Also my opinions about pedagogy and the approach composition teachers should aspire to have altered greatly. I once believed a good teacher is one who works hard, is well prepared, and comes to class with plenty of enthusiasm for their subject matter. I still believe that, but my experience as a tutor has taught me that more is required of a good composition teacher because what they teach and not just the way they teach their students affects the direction of the class. The curriculum teachers chose determines the kind of exposure students with have to quality writing, discussion-based interaction, and current ethical issues. Though I often struggle with feelings of inadequacy as a grad student because I thought that at this point in my life and career as a student I would be well versed in all areas of literature and have a wider breadth (even though I am grateful for the depth my classes have provided me with up unto this point) than I currently have. I agree with Hartwell’s suggestion to value grammar less than content, but I wish I knew more about what constitutes good writing. I recognize good writing when I see it and I can vouch for the “immersion” recommendation on how to improve my writing, but I just wish I were better than I am at this point. I am not excusing my own inadequacies in the form of a defense mechanism, I am just wrestling with my expectations of what education means. One of the reasons I am so attracted to writing is because the nature of it attracts a broad color of personalities with all sorts of varying opinions and values and good writers give rise to the beautiful, and often very ugly, essence of human nature that metacognition can recognize in ways that no other type of thought processes can. Wow, this is very convoluted. What I am trying to say is, and I have discussed this concept in my classes before but I am unaware of any terminology surrounding the subject, the more one is educated, the more isolated he or she becomes. So then isn’t a life devoted to education one that is devoted to separateness and otherness? I don’t know if these qualities necessarily constitute a better world. But if the powers of good writing and educating can be instilled to bridge the divide between richly cultured individuals then it is worthwhile. If so, how do I become one of these individuals? How do I teach others how to become one of these individuals? Just because the more I learn the more I realize the less I know, does not mean that I should be discouraged. Or should I? J  


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