Wordsworth defined poetry as the "spontaneous overflow of powerful emotion, recollected in tranquility."
Teaching writing is one of the most challenging endeavors I can imagine, because it involves so many elements and skills. One must be willing to teach grammar and punctuation, along with literary analysis and logical argumentation. A writing teacher should certainly try to inspire students about writing, but the challenge for teachers of college-level discourse is to direct that inspiration toward academic tasks that are often prescribed by others. Creative writing engages many students, but is disdained by others, and most of the imaginative flights of fancy associated with fiction writing are inappropriate with rigorous scholarship.
My struggle always concerns the students:
- What lessons do they need?
- What is the most effective way to teach those lessons?
- How can I inspire and instruct in a manner that makes my students better writers, readers, and thinkers?
- How can I best serve them?
The truth is found in Wordsworth's definition, for all good writing is--or should be--the outpouring of powerful feelings, recollected, revised, and polished in the serenity of one's own good mind.
M. A., English, University of California, Davis
B. A., English, California State University, Sonoma
- Writing Assessment
- Writing Across the Curriculum
- Publication interests in the area of poetry, short fiction, and short articles in literary publications and newspapers