Writing for a Teacher

My friend asked me what it feels like to be a week away from completing half of my college career. I promptly told him to stop speaking to me. I know that there are a few juniors(soon to be seniors) that are probably rolling their eyes reading this… but I bet you were thinking the same thing at the end of your sophomore year. It is crazy to think about how fast college is flying by, and so I think this post about reflection is somewhat appropriate.

This past year I was a member of Ann Arbor Languages Program. I went into three different 3rd grade classrooms and taught Spanish for 30 mins every Tuesday and Thursday. The program was demanding, stressful, sleep depriving, and infuriatingly time consuming.It left me exhausted.

How I felt after teaching
How I felt after teaching

Yet I would do it all again. I am certain now that I would never want to be an elementary school teacher, and if nothing else, I gained that from the whole experience.

I know this post is supposed to be reflecting on writing, and in a way, this experience for me was all about writing. I had to write up a lesson for every day that I taught. 44 different lesson scripts. Each one different from the next. These scripts were not just bullets listing the events. I had to dig deep and describe what I was going to do and why it was important that I do so. Here is an excerpt from one such lesson:

Ropa/Color Worksheets 10 min – end

-These worksheets are going to be done in groups – I have chosen to use six characters because every class has six different table groups and so every group will be able to work on a different person—-i will have my own person that I will model before I pass out the worksheet emphasizing again that there needs to be ropa y color so when I am demonstrating I say zapatos NEGROS———making sure to stress the color part of the answer——–then I will pass out the papers, since there will only be six it would take more time to call up a volunteer————-keep repeating “en groupos – en groupos” – so they know to work in groups ——there will be a slide now with all the colors and all the names of the clothing types, because the students usually know the word they want but they get frustrated when they cant spell it——–also when I am walking around I can help the students out by pointing at the slides——  -when I see that they re done I will call up the students by groups and ask them to share ———this may be a little hard for some of the shy students so I will allow one person to speak for the group, because I realize that not everyone is comfortable speaking up front———-the point is to have the group be involved and so its four kids sharing instead of one raising their hand

 

And that is just one ten minute segment of a lesson. Sure, this was one of my more in-depth scripts, but I think I get my point across. I learned a lot about how to think for other people’s needs. This can directly relate to my writing. I need to be aware of my audience and address their needs. Not to mention that I was doing a good deal of writing almost every night. The content is not exactly riveting or inspirational to read, but I can honestly say that I was writing. This is something that I am guilty of not always doing. Just sitting down and writing was very revealing after awhile. I did eventually expand to more than just “the colors.” I was able to write some stories not pertaining to the classroom and I just carried on with what had already been set in motion. So while there may have been a lot of pieces I was assigned to complete, the constant time spent in front of a keyboard actually became very beneficial for me.

T.G.I.A.

Thank God It’s April!

Does anyone else feel this way, or is it just me? Of course I’m sad that my junior year is ending (I never want to graduate, go away real world!) but, in a few short week’s we’ll finally get to relax and appreciate the fruits of all our hard labor these past 4 months, and I honestly can’t wait!

Every time I come home from school my puppy Buster takes a nap on my suitcase.

To put it bluntly, being a student in Writing 200 made me happy to be a writer. It reminded me why I love it, and really how fulfilling it can be when you work with that title instead of against it. I’ve been so inspired by our writing assignments (e.g., I learned so much about how my life has shaped my writing from our first “Why I Write” essay) and by the people we’ve met in the “How I Write” meetings. I’m actually sort of looking forward to completing my E-Portfolio now that I have a better understanding of myself as a writer (although I know that by next weekend I’ll seriously be biting my tongue for having said such a blasphemous thing). One of my friends – who is a History major – actually looks forward to his final exams, because in his words “they put together everything we’ve learned over the semester and make us think about it in different ways. How cool!” Yeah, my eyes are rolling too. But now, in a way I see his point. Our E-Portfolio is a way to think about all of the ways we’ve studied writing and put ourselves to the test to aptly and creatively show what we know about our writing and present that knowledge effectively.

I think that with all of my exams, papers, projects, presentations, etc. etc. etc. things coming up as the semester closes, I’ll have to remind myself (as everyone should!) to stay calm. We’re in college! Let’s have a little fun while we’re still here. It’s not everyday that we get to be in classes as cool as Writing 200.

– Allie

Reflections (Or Lack Thereof)

In a little more than two weeks, we will be turning in our e-portfolios. Excuse me while I run around my dorm room in a state of panic.

This is not a mood conducive for much reflection beyond: Where did all the time go? What have I been doing with my life?  Why wasn’t I working on my e-portfolio in February? How am I going to make it through the next few weeks? Add a few more swear words to those questions, the sound track to Inception, the expression on the captain’s face when he realizes the Titanic is sinking and you have my mind state right now.

Still, I am not completely incapable of reflection. This semester has been the semester of little papers. Every week I’ve had around two 1-2 page papers that basically functioned as “Did you do the reading?” and “Can you think for yourself [but not too much; we don’t want to contradict the professor] ?” checks. I’ve only had to do short pieces at a time.  We’ve proceeded so incrementally with our projects for Writing 200,  that I’ve rarely had to sit down and work on a single essay for a long period of time (by long period I mean six hour- the paper is due tomorrow- kind of binge writing) as I’ve done in the past. Instead, I’ve worked bit by bit. I’m not sure which is better for my “process” if you will. I think there’s merit in sinking it to your writing, and really focusing and developing your ideas. At the same time, bit by bit allows for more distance and reflection. It puts you more into a reader’s mind frame. A writer knows what they’re trying to say and why they’ve made their writing choices. Often it is hard for writers to see what they’re actually writing and the effects of their choices without bias. Working on something bit by bit allows you to take breaks and forget what you’ve written so you can see it more like a reader. This can make it easier to spot problems and fix them.  However, I feel like some of my best ideas come from immersing myself in the topic. One thought leads to another which leads to another and so on, until you have that moment of inspiration.  To be completely, honest, it isn’t really much of my choice about which style I use. Most of the time, it’s determined by the due date.

Weirdly enough, what I really remember helping my process this semester is not anything philosophical. Getting out of my dorm room seems to be the secret for getting writing done. That and Caramel Frappuccinos.  This is supposedly something I learned freshmen year. Yet, I still think that I’m past that and I can get work done in my room. Mostly because I am to lazy to go trolling around for Central Campus for an empty table and wifi.  Getting out of my dorm room to write helps because being around people helps me stay focused. Or at least makes me feel ashamed when I open my netflix. The other thing that has helped my writing is keeping a notepad handy while on my lap top. For some reason, physically writing down my main points on paper and then writing the full essay on my laptop has been helpful.  That and making a reverse outline. Basically, you write whatever you like and find the point of it all, and then compare it to the points you intended to convey. If that makes any sense.

Ultimately, I think I’m too in the thick of it to give the best reflection possible. I have a crazy amount of writing to do in the upcoming weeks:  a script in Japanese, revisions on three essays (Re-purposing an Argument, Re-mediating and Argument, and Essay 4), all the writing necessary for my e-portfolio site, a 12-13 page paper on museums and a few short essays.  I think I’m just going to not think about it too much and dive right in, like this guy: 

 

Writing Reflections

I didn’t do nearly as much school-related writing this semester as I did last semester. Maybe it’s because I’m taking project-based marketing courses instead of the traditional communications classes that are heavy in writing. Now don’t get me wrong, I have done my fair share of writing for these marketing projects, just no 8-10 page essays. I think I prefer this type of marketing case study writing. I was assigned to compile and edit everything after people researched their individual parts. I think it’s really cool to put together the piece and see how the final product looks.

Aside from this type of writing, I wrote a dance performance reflection, a few mini writing assignments, and a long paper about the double standard for my women’s health class. This last essay took me a while to write, but I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I’m just a little worried about the structure of it. I felt like all of my ideas overlapped a lot. I guess we will see when I get my grade back!

I’ve been applying to a lot of internships and as a result writing a lot of cover letters. I love this type of writing because it lets me talk about my strengths. I also wrote numerous articles for Her Campus. I always enjoy writing these articles because I get to write about the college lifestyle. I don’t anticipate much writing for the rest of the semester aside from finishing powerpoints for my projects.

Happy writing everyone!

 

Blog Theme #1: Reflection

As your formally elected Minor in Writing Blog Committee, we cordially invite all cohort members to participate in our monthly “themed” blogging. We feel that themed posts will both promote inter-cohort communication and collaboration, as well as provide a multitude of perspectives on a single, focused topic. Think of these prompts as “guidelines” to use in order to freely express your thoughts and opinions about the subjects at hand.

For April’s theme, we’d like you to reflect on you writing experiences this semester. What was your favorite thing you wrote? Did you write anything outside of your coursework that was meaningful to you? What lies ahead for the rest of your semester? Remember to use the appropriate tags and categories: Monthly Theme, April, Reflection.

Mulan - Reflection
Get it? Reflection? We’re very funny people.

We look forward to your contributions.

Regards,
Your Blog Overlords

Julia Adams
Zach Bucholtz
Josh Kim
Alex Olkowski