Why I Hate Writing

717 Words 3 Pages
The above scenario is a true story. Or rather, it is a composite of many true stories. Hundreds of students in my course on teaching writing K-12 have come into my office (or sat in class or written in their notebooks) and made similar proclamations—I hate writing, I 'm a bad writer, writing scares me. Note the course topic: teaching writing K-12. Mari and the other students telling me about their fears and hatred of writing are not freshman in their first college-level composition class. Most of them are junior and senior education majors, close to (if not already there) graduating and becoming fully certified school teachers.
In other words, the very students who claim incompetence as writers themselves are the ones who will be teaching
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I am astounded every time a future educator has said to me some variation of, “I hate writing, so I’m going to teach kindergarten, where they don’t have to write.” But I have heard this often. These future educators are in for a rude awakening, as writing—actual composition, not just letter formation—is an integral part of kindergarten curricula. The Common Core Standards state that kindergarten students should be able to “[u]se a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the topic or the name of the book they are writing about and state an opinion or preference about the topic or book (e.g., My favorite book is...)” (Common Core …show more content…
Because of intense pressure for student performance on tests, teachers too often turn to guides, textbooks, and canned curriculum rather than trusting their own knowledge of writing. While many of these resources are quite good in terms of promoting effective teaching practices, they can be much more so if the teacher using them has an understanding of the why of these practices. This understanding requires that the teacher know what works and doesn’t work—for writers. Teachers who do not write will always be limited by a lack of legitimate, experiential knowledge that allows them to make reasoned and effective choices for the students. Research bears out this conclusion—a study by Draper, et al (2000) demonstrated that pre-service teachers who identify as “non-writers” have significant difficulties articulating how they might teach writing, especially when asked how they might foster a love of reading and writing among their students.
To address writing instruction deficiencies among teachers, many schools pour professional development dollars into writing instruction. Most of that money, however, goes toward “how-to” PD for teaching writing, techniques to use with students in the classroom. As useful as that may be, it does not address the real issue—the teacher’s

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