1. What is your greatest strength as a teacher? What is a weakness and how have you overcome it?
My story telling.
My organization skills. I stay very organized so that I don’t do anything like lose papers.
2. What is a teaching strategy that you use that always works?
Riddles for the descriptive paper.
I also told them something else, but I don’t remember what.
3. How do you integrate reading within the writing class?
We read some. I write and have them read. I try to make it an integral part of the class. (This was probably my least successful answer.)
4. How do you feel about a required grammar test in freshman composition?
I am for it, though I don’t think it will necessarily say whether the person can write. It can be used as a diagnostic at least.
5. What would you do if the day a paper was due half the class came in without their work?
I would have the students who did their work turn it in. They could spend the class period doing whatever. The rest of the class would work on the assignment and lose points for it being late. While those students were working, I would read through the student papers I got, mark them for errors and return them so that the students could fix their papers before the new due date. (Carrot and stick.)
After I made sure my instructions weren’t the issue.
6. What keeps you motivated as a teacher?
I said it used to be teaching. Just being with the kids was great. About a year and a half ago I started getting burnt out. So I went to conferences and got some new ideas and was able to integrate those.
7. What three characteristics about you would make you a good colleague?
I like people.
I like to help, share.
I am enthusiastic.
What made you burn out? and how did you fix it?
I quit changing my class. I had found things that worked and worked well and I wasn’t mixing up the classes. I was just doing the tried and true. That was boring for me and so I was getting burnt out.
I went to conferences to get new ideas and started integrating those.
Can you tell us about the developmental writing program at your university?
I did. It was amazing how much I knew about it and the issues. I tried to be fair to all, but there are some problems. And I am not sure I did a great job of being positive. This was the other place I thought my answer might be weak.
There’s not a tutoring center. The main building that was used for that was destroyed by Ike and hasn’t been rebuilt. So there are about six hours a week that tutoring is offered.
There is only a single developmental writing class. That is fine for most of the students, but not all.
The writing committee is composed of teachers from other disciplines, not English.
The writing teachers are predominantly literature teachers. As far as I know, there is not a single rhetorician on staff. (There are many who care and do their best to teach composition well, but most of them do not have education in teaching writing.)