Thursday, September 26, 2013

Preparing a Draft for English Journal

While crafting my portion of a collaborative draft for English Journal, I asked for student feedback to help guide my writing. As part of a team of five contributors to an article, I have taken on the theme of teachers positioning themselves as writers for the benefit of one's pedagogy.

So, I asked my students for honest, written feedback through the following prompt:

What difference(s) or effect(s) does it have when you see me as a writer?

The following 8th grade student feedback is in their own words, spelling, and punctuation. I don't include it as a gratuitous reflection of me, but as the support and value of teachers bringing writing into their personal and professional lives. Any I did not copy into the document were almost verbatim repeats. Our of 125 students I had one who gave me what I would consider negative feedback (and something I need to follow-up on) when he/she wrote, "I do not feel I have improved as a writer."

The word cloud reflects the common words that the students used the most. The words beginning to stand out to me are comfortable, encouraged, and like. So many began a thought with "I like"...


  • When I see you as a writer, I feel as though you are connected with me as a writer better as well as a student. (JC)
  • Your writing has affected me because it has made realize that good writing doesn't have to come from a published author. Also, it takes time and effort to develop a well-written essay or piece. Your writing allows us to see who you are and in a way lets us in your life. It helps keep the idea of you being our mentor. (SJ)
  • When I see you as a writer it works. It works because I can come to ask you questions and it is easier to ask you. (MW)
  • I believe that seeing you as a writer has a great effect on me. It makes me feel like you're going to be completely honest with your feedback for me.
  • When I see you as a writer it's easier to understand how I can become a better writer...I hear what sounds good and it's just easier and there's less pressure. (DH)
  • When you be a writer with us it makes it seem like arent judjmental. (CK)
  • I like it that you show us your writing. I see the way you have combined words to make it sound really neat, and I try to remember that to use it in my own writing. It also makes me feel more connected, like you are not just another teacher in my life, but a fellow writer. (Anonymous)
  • I like the fact that you are not only our teacher, but a writing mentor. It makes me feel like you aren't just saying what's wrong or right because we all have a style. (ES)
  • It makes me want to learn from you more and makes me want to write like you. (MD)
  • When I see you as a writer it soothes me. (Anonymous)
  • I think it would impact me more if you shared some of your novel. (NW)
  • Seeing you as a writer actually makes me more comfortable sharing and writing on my blog. It inspires me to try. Try harder and maybe even step outside my comfort zone sometimes. (EM)
  • It makes me more comfortable sharing my writing because I don't view you as someone who will judge me, but more as someone who will help me grow. (Anna)
  • 2nd period feels more like a connected, close-knit group where we can share or bring up anything. (Anonymous)
  • When I see you as a writer your so deep and in the zone kind of. When you read your writing I like I know what/who/where your talking about. (IU)
  • It gives me lots of emotion. It gives me lots of encouragement to keep going with my writing. (AA)
  • It makes me feel connected because when we write in our notebooks, you write, too. (HB)
  • I feel inspired by you as a writer and I really like that you are very involved with us when we are writing...makes me feel comfortable, like you care that we become successful. (MC)
  • I see you write, often, in class, and when I see the final product I am inspired to write more.
  • I feel that it lets me be connected to you on a more personal level. I would feel more comfortable talking writer to writer rather than writer to teacher for feedback... (Ryan)
  • Seeing you as a writer makes me see that this isn't just your job, but that it is your passion (DK)
  • Seeing you as a writer has effected me in a positive way...It allows me to be connected with you and improve my own writing through yours. (LEJ)
  • The effect of your teaching has encouraged me to write things I have never written before. Also encouraged me to dig deeper in my thoughts. (V.V.)
  • I like it when you share your pieces because I feel like since I know who you are I can be more connected to class. I like seeing your work. (C.A.)
  • I learn by experience and visuals. It's like we're reaching for the same goal, to become a better writer, all together. (S.P.)
  • I have more appreciation for writing in general and it also makes me look deeper into my own writing. I would also make me more comfortable with confrencing with you about my writing. (M.B.)
  • You make everyone in the class feel like they're the students and you are too. (C.Y.)
  • It makes me feel like I have the ability to become a great writer someday. (E.S.)
  • I feel like you actually know how to write and how the little things can change your writing (Leah)
  • You effect me by making me feel as if we are all the same level of writer. (KL)
  • It's easier for me to figure out what the assignment is and what the expectations are (S.P)
  • It makes me feel more like you understand writing and it is as or more important to you as it is to me. (RL)
  • It helps me see what is important to you and what some of your thoughts are. (HN)
  • I think that seeing you as a writer encourages us, since it shows us how good of a writer we can be if we practice. (BN)
  • I truly think it helps. It creates a stronger student vs. teacher bond. (Alex)
  • Well, you give me inspiration on how I should write my own things. (MK)
  • It gives me greater confidence. (DL)
  • (it) encourages me to write more interesting and detailed sentences. (FH)
  • I think that it helps me because it makes me more comfortable to write honestly. (Melissa)
  • I feel encouraged about writing and read more. (ZH)
  • I think it has encouraged us to write more openly. I think seeing you as writer, a person, that is honest and is comfortable with showing something more personal, helps us feel more comfortable. (Ethan)
  • It's nice that you try to connect with us, most teachers don't, but it just is what it is. (KG)
  • I already have respect for you because you're my teacher and all, but when you share your writing and things with us it gives me so much more. It's nice to know that you actually want to share it with us. (Maddie)
  • I feel like you are a part of the class when you write with us. (JL)
  • When you write with us it shows us that you are experienced and that you care. (MC)
  • It is easier to ask someone questions when they are a writer, not a teacher. (SS)
  • When you are a writer, it makes me feel connected with someone who writes. (BK)
  • Having you as a writer feels very supportive. (MS)

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