Signing up for Teaching Writing and Grammar, I was apprehensive. I didn’t think I knew anything about grammar. It was my first semester at GMC; the thought of taking a class with upperclassmen on a track to become high school English teachers was terrifying. I had signed up for eighteen credits with the intent to drop a class. I was pretty sure it would be Teaching Writing and Grammar.
That first warm evening, sitting on sunlit granite benches, my preconceived misgivings were confirmed. Everyone else in the class were pursuing education certifications. Furthermore, there was an in class writing assignment. My spelling was (and still is) horrendous, and the thought of exposing my lack of grammatical correctness to a high school english instructor was terrifying. The syllabus stated that during the first class writing samples would be taken from us to determine whether we were prepared for the riggers of the class.What if he informed me that my flawed writing convention belonged in his high school classes and that I should seek remedial help. These were not rational fears. I had taken many classes in which professors had lauded my writing, but that had been at a community college, perhaps the bar was higher here.
It took me significantly longer than the rest of the class to finish the writing assignment, but Scott took my scribbled pages of unedited, unspell-checked work with a smile, even though I’d made him wait after a ...
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... but it had also included the constructive feedback of my writing instructors and the poster of the six comma rules my mom had me create in the 9th grade. The bad, brought me back to my 7th grade grammar rule workbook. I never completed much of it. I recall that it contained exercises on identifying prepositions and participles; I also recall that I threw it across the room and both yelled and cried over it.
Through the arduous process of writing about something I didn’t care about, I was given the opportunity to explore a new array of ideas and bring memories into focus that provided the frame of reference necessary for me to develop my own opinion regarding the teaching of writing: grammar instruction should happen within the context of writing. That was where my grammar workbook went wrong; I couldn’t connect the workbook exercises with the real world of writing.
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