Teaching Writing is Hard!!

Teaching Writing is Hard!!

What’s so hard about it? Why do English teachers struggle with teaching writing? What can we do about it? What’s so difficult about teaching writing? For most writers, we are so passionate about writing and practice is so much that we learn the skills without realizing it. Think about it like this: What is something that you love so much, practice so often even though it is challenging to learn, and people say to you that you make it look easy? Just because you make it look easy does not mean that it is easy. It’s the love that you have for it that drives you to learn the skills to accomplish it EVEN when it is difficult. That is how writers feel. We cannot not write. So even though it is extremely hard to learn the skills and to keep writing when everything in us wants to quit, life is better when we write. We cannot not write. Just like you cannot not do what you love. That said, writing is HARD!!! The skills that we have had to learn to be good writers have come with failure after failure… these failures you don’t see because they are in our literal or virtual trash bins. Why is it so hard to teach writing? Many times for writers, as you can imagine with your thing, it is hard to understand someone who is not as passionate about what we love. It is also a challenge to identify the steps that we have taken to become good at writing. Sometimes, teachers of writing are better at inspiring writing than we are at...
Strategies for Classroom Management-For the Most Challenging Classrooms (Part 1)

Strategies for Classroom Management-For the Most Challenging Classrooms (Part 1)

I have worked in alternative high school settings in Southern California for 8 years.  I have seen it all.  I know what works and what does not work.  Control does not work; psychology does.   Part One will discuss What Not To Do and Part Two will discuss What To Do     I was a Teacher’s Assistant in one of the most challenging alternative schools in San Diego County while I was going to college.  During that time, I was able to learn an immense about classroom management as I saw substitute teacher after substitute teacher fall flat on their face, cry, and leave defeated after a classroom of rebellious students, mostly gang members, ate them alive.  I saw the manipulation tactics in full force.  The students switching names, seats, convincing the teacher of made up rules, and overall just taking over the classroom (the kind of classes the Substitute had taught in the inner cities, I’m sure). I have seen students cause teachers to cry and then the students play the victim and blame the sub.  In my experience, I have had a student throw a desk across the room in frustration.  I have kicked students out daily. I have been called every name in the book in front of the whole class and have had a few of them get so close to my face that I could feel their breath.    I have also lost control over my own behaviors that the class was unable to resume. I have tried my hardest to regain some normalcy or control but failed daily.  I have tried everything for...
How to Ask Questions That Elicit a Response From Your Audience

How to Ask Questions That Elicit a Response From Your Audience

like Tony Robbins does Tony Robbins is not paid for being a motivational speaker only because he was born to speak, he has natural talent, or he is saying something new.  He may have a natural talent for speaking but without practicing the techniques used to appeal his audience, he would not be successful.  He could have all the natural talent in the world but without good preparation before he speaks, his events would fall flat.  Most of the time, he tells his audience things they already know, but overall, his delivery and the way that he makes the audience feel is what makes him so popular.  He makes them feel like they are having a conversation.  This is not just a natural talent that he has, but a skill that he has learned: how to effectively interact with his audience.  This skill has helped him refine his craft of speaking through building a connection to his audience.   Many speakers might marvel at the way he can ask a question and get a useful and audible response from his audience.  Today while listening one of his clips on The Quote of the Day Show, Tony talked about what it means to be wealthy, and I was very impressed with how much his audience verbally responded to his questions.  Eliciting audience response is not easy nor does it happen randomly.  It is a skill that Tony has learned, and we can, too.   Has there been any time when you have asked a question to an audience that you desired a response from and the person or audience assumed...