The research paper: The end of the semester

The end of the semester is close and the students are getting excited about their summer vacation and for some their upcoming graduation. For me it is that time of the semester when I am reading and grading their research papers. I am always impressed with how hard my students work and the progress they make during the semester. At first, they are hesitant at the idea of a fifteen-page paper, but as we work through the writing process, they are amazed at their end products, a well-written research paper, with a solid thesis, introduction, conclusion, and all their arguments proved.

As I handed back the papers on Tuesday, I told one of my student s that his paper was great and he said to me that no one had ever told him that before. He asked if I was joking, and I said no, all the papers are great in this class, each of you write really well. Another student said she had never made above a C in English. It really saddens me to hear my students ever felt discouraged. How can a student write well if they have been discouraged and think that they are poor writers before they even start their papers?

I like to think of writing as a process and that if I look at what a student does really well and encourage them in the areas that they need to work on without discouraging them that they will learn and thrive in my class. I want all my students to succeed by positive feedback not by red pen mentality.

This particular class is an English Composition II class, so most of the students understand the writing process, but I teach other writing classes too. I take this same approach to encourage my students. For my GED students it means learning to write a well-crafted sentence, then two, and finally a whole paragraph. Before long, they are writing a solid essay, which is critical in passing the GED test.

As an adjunct, a part-time teacher, I am do not have the luxury of spending time in my office to work with students, so I strive to be available during my lunch, before, and after class. I am always pleased that many of my students will come and ask for a little extra help. I so love working with these students. I am always sad this time of year, the semester is ending, and I will have to say goodbye. I know that my students have learned and will go on to write excellent papers for their other classes. I hope my positive outlook on their abilities makes a difference to them; I know their positive response to me makes me smile.

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Summer is Ending

Summer is ending and it is back to work I go. At least in theory since the final day of school I immediately started working not one but three summer jobs. On the side I worked on my web page, I blogged, and I wrote. My latest goal is to finish the book I have been writing by October and submit to a publisher by December. I am also working on a textbook for developmental and remedial students on the College level. I know what you are thinking that I have too many irons in the fire and you are right, I do. I find it hard to just sit and relax. Every moment that I sit my mind is spinning tell me to get busy and write, grade papers, or work on the house.
This school year I will continue to be busy. I am teaching fulltime at local high school and part-time at the community college in town during the evenings. Why you ask? First, I love teaching college classes. I have went back to school to earn a master’s in hopes of teaching and working with students on the college level but finding a fulltime job in this area is difficult. There is many qualified applicant s and competition is tough for the jobs. Therefore, I continue to teach part-time because I love it. I also teach part-time to make our house payment. We purchased a historic home that we lived in for a year but realized it was too much work for us and we put it on them market. Needless it has been six months and the house is still up for sale. Did I mention that we owned a house when we bought the historic home; that home is being sold on contract. Our buyers have been great making every payment we hope they get a mortgage soon so that we can get the house out of our name. When we moved out of the historic home, we bought a small home in town. That’s right we have three homes – so you see I really have to work part-time.
My husband and I are planning a quick vacation to Virginia to drive and unwind before the craziness of the school year begins again. I have had a few heartbreaks this summer. I realized that someone I admired was not what she seemed; she taught me a valuable lesson not to put all my eggs in one basket. I will get over the hurt since in life we are faced with disappointment, we have to decide how we are going to react, and I choose to forgive and to move on.
I am hoping I can write about a new opportunity in my life but for now, I have to just wait and see. So for now I continue to write, work hard, and to dream.

30 days in November!

November is fast approaching as is the challenge to write a novel in a month. Each year I attempt the challenge and each year I fail. Once again I am contemplating whether I should try again or not. I am good at achieving my goals so I am not sure why this one eludes me. To read more about this challenge check out the official website at http://www.nanowrimo.org/. I love to write and I have several works in progress but the idea of this challenge is that you write a novel that is not just lying around but actually start fresh. I think that is what scares me the most. I feel obligated to finish the novels that I have started and the idea of competing one that is in progress seems unfair to my sense of obligation. If I say I am a writer then I need to write and stop living in the dream world of someday. We all know that all too often someday never comes. So there we have it – my decision is made. This year 2012 is the year that I meet this challenge head on and write a novel during the month of November. I will report back in 5 weeks and let you know if I complete the challenge this time. Good thoughts and positive energy please.