Question: What kind of English teacher are you?
Answer/Quote: “Many students apparently see English teachers as guardians, enforcers, correctors, as those who look for errors and who relish castigating those who make them.”
Comment: Ouch! Been there, done that. I admit it. What caused me to change? A focus not on me, but the desire for students to master the language. I learned that true leadership empowers others.
I learned to teach students how to read difficult material—independently—through the directed reading assignment.
I learned how to use discussions of literature successfully, involving the entire class, by focusing on the students’ questions about what they did not understand.
I learned how to teach writing, from brainstorming, through establishing the thesis, to drafting, revising and editing.
I learned to teach grammar by establishing clear purposes for teaching it, related clearly to writing.
I showed students how to speak formally without fear and how to use small groups to accomplish clear goals.
Yes, it took a career lifetime. But I couldn’t have accomplished the change without the assistance of professional articles and publications from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and International Reading Association (IRA) and other publications like The Writer, a magazine written by writers for writers, in which professionals shared their ideas with me. RayS.
Title: “Pun and Games.” WJ Vande Kopple. English Journal (January 1995), 50-54.