Tiny Teaching Stories: Awakening

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Today's Tiny Teaching Story is by Sonia Feder-Lewis, a Professor at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota's Graduate School of Education.



It was a dream course assignment: a small upper-level honors class in Women’s Literature. A reward near the end of graduate school. Eleven students: 10 women and one brave young man, newly separated from the Army for carefully undisclosed reasons. The women treated him gently as we read Woolf, Morrison, Erdrich, Chopin. “The Awakening is the greatest book I have ever read,” he said passionately. Two decades later, he recognizes me in a coffee shop. Without pause, he tells me the course had been his favorite. And his hardest. I do not ask why.



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About the Author
Nancy Sommers, who has taught composition and directed writing programs for more than thirty years, now teaches in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. A two-time Braddock Award winner, Sommers is well known for her research and publications on student writing. Her articles “Revision Strategies of Student and Experienced Writers” and “Responding to Student Writing” are two of the most widely read and anthologized articles in the field of composition. She has also created three films—Shaped by Writing, Across the Drafts, and Beyond the Red Ink—to bring the voices of student writers into a larger discussion about writing instruction. Nancy Sommers is currently the coauthor of Diana Hacker’s best-selling handbooks: The Bedford Handbook, A Writer’s Reference, Rules for Writers, A Pocket Style Manual, and Writer’s Help (see hackerhandbooks.com). Her newest instructor resource, Responding to Student Writers, offers a model for thinking about response as a dialogue between students and teachers.