THanks, Melissa

Posted on February 24, 2018


Okay, not student’s real name, but some years back a student in a content area course was supposed to analyze and synthesize and write about primary sources.   THis person who had gotten through high school doing “cut and paste, change the order, put in a synonym”  was…. stuck. SHe was also a good student.   So… she came for lots of help.   I did lots and lots of modeling because no, she really didn’t know what a sentence was.   I worried that I was enabling learned helplessness.

By the end of hte semesters, she could write essays.   With the intensive support — but the kind of support many students get from a parent or sibling, myself included — and *having* to actually paraphrase because the vocabulary and flow of the language of the 1700’s doesn’t lend itself to “change a few words — she learned to communicate in writing.   It just. does. sometimes. require. a. lot. of. modeling.   SO much of language is mimicking !

Our writing lab closes at 2:00 Fridays (it’s open ’til 5:00 otherwise, and had been open evenings but when the Governor cut off $$ that got sliced and student services seem to be the last thing to be restored) .    So a student is working on a paper.   At some point, expresses that … it’s impossible.     It’s a college level class, so … expected to be able to crank these out.  Just might drop this class.   I thought of Melissa and did lots of modeling, lots of help… and then the finishing touches of making it look like a paper.    The “page number, last name” on top of each page… I remembered the joy and huge relief of looking at multiple pages when A Paper Was Done.   Paper finished just after 4:00.  The gazing at the drop box and “1” under “submissions” was very satisfying.

More importantly… student is at least planning… to come early and often for the next one.    So, like, I’m thinking this student crossed from defense to offense, academically 🙂

IN the middle of all this, a student trying to write after an all nighter declared, “I know why people cry at graduation now.  This is hard!”   … and no, not everybody had a good day… now it’s the weekend.

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