I read preliminary versions of research papers last night and got so discouraged.  Every person would have failed one way or another if I had graded them as final versions.  It made me wonder what I was doing with my time and why I was even bothering to try to teach since they were obviously not getting the material I had tried to put across. So many of them still did not even understand documenting source material and were committing plagiarism as a result.

I understand that writing is difficult for some people while it isn’t for me.  But this kind of systemic failure points to something else–either I did not put the material across correctly or every single person was not listening.  Even my typically good writers had major flaws in their papers.  I feel that it somehow reflects on me and what I’m doing.  It certainly makes me want to give up teaching for good.  I don’t know what to do except hand them back with comments on what they’ve done  incorrectly and try to encourage them to do better.  I’m just kind of at a loss for words.


4 thoughts on “Discouragement”

  1. I’ve spent a lot of years as a writing teacher and oh, do I know your pain. These experiences of systemic failure are frustrating. However, I have found that those experiences often motivate me to put together a good strategy for teaching a particular writing strategy in the future–and those have often turned out to be my best teaching days in future semesters. If nothing else, it may be easier for students to learn what to do right when their own work is sitting in front of them. Hang in there!


  2. I think that writing well is a gift, like artistry and singing. I believe a person either has it or they don’t. It’s a wonder I graduated college at all. My professors tried and tried with me, but unless there is a formula I’m ????


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