Social Class Reproduction

Four Rules for Teaching Writing:
Image result for image: joy of writing
Always give writing assignments that

1. you will enjoy reading;
2. students will enjoy writing;
3. students will enjoy reading what others in the class have written
4. you will enjoy writing.

If any one of these conditions were not true, then it probably wasn't a very good assignment.

Advice I give to my students: When your words surprise you, you know you are writing.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

DeZenning Zen

I spend most of my day writing or reading and thinking about writing.  I know I'm trying to reforge my identity by all the writing I do, constantly trying to write myself out of who I am and into a me somewhere else.  I know how unZen and uncool my stance is here, but it's me. It's possible of course that Zen is the flip side of what is commonly imagined.

I have a million things I want to say/write, but I've lost my voice tonight for reasons I could never explain here, all of them in a space that simply has to remain my own. I'm thinking about my students: how easily they can be shut down as I feel shut down tonight.  I'm thinking about the tender relationship between writing and self and how easily as teachers we can be oblivious to the almost supernatural link between who we are and what we write.  Teachers have commonly claimed they are critiquing the writing, not the writer.  One might say comically claimed.

Maybe I can let one of my students speak for me:

 I’m writing in the way I speak because essentially, that’s who I am. Sometimes, I wish I could send Standard English and grammar rules back to where they came from. My vendetta against those two are pretty intense mainly because they take away the one thing I should be able to show at my own discretion. My vulnerability is made candid because of the way I speak. My dialect, my disposition and the sass within my voice reveals so much about who I am. I hate that my flaws are exposed to the world when I “be talkin’.” No matter how hard I try to tell my story from a mainstream perspective, I always feel like I’m pretending to be someone I’m not. 

I'm wondering now what my first two paragraphs and my student's quote have to do with each other.  Probably nothing--self, writing, silence, being elsewhere, zen, ~zen.  Maybe I'll put the pieces together tomorrow.


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