My time is a bit tight tomorrow, so I just thought I’d post a generalized comment to be sure to contribute, even if I can’t organize a comment in direct response to a post.
This week, I’ve really been grappling with a sense if righteousness in some of the readings. Always the one to express the more extreme end of my sentiments, this may over-the-top despite being characteristic. However, what I keep feeling as look through Sommers in particular is a sense that the examples are exceptional–students volunteering for a study, select memories rather than broad data. Now, to be clear, I do not think that the aim of shifting a teacher’s attitude toward one of an equal reader offering guidance not criticism is problematic. What I am struggling with is reading these alongside the work my students have handed in. In the vast majority of cases, there is little to no revision between the rough and revised drafts, all fall short of length (and thus depth) requirements, and a good number are very apparently born of little work. That said, I’m not trying to make undistinguishable the difference between a few students who struggle but work really hard to improve and push themselves and those who spend two hours the night before an assignment is due. What I am struggling with this week is a sense of pressure from the readings to be saintly in response to a lack of effort. The part of me that has worked really hard to get where I am doesn’t vibe with devoting heaps of energy to students who aren’t interested in improving.