Tiny Teaching Stories: From the Pantry

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Today's Tiny Teaching Story is by Rhona Blaker. Blaker is an adjunct instructor of English at Glendale Community College, where she also serves as the Campus Coordinator for Contexualized Teaching and Learning.


From the Pantry

Most mornings I stare at my own face next to twenty-five black squares. One Thursday, desperate for human contact, I begged the students to reveal their faces. Three students complied. Later, a young woman e-mailed to say she never turns her camera on because she takes class on a tablet while sitting in a pantry, trying to escape the ten other people who live in her apartment. I apologized for imagining English 101 was ever about me and rejoiced when she later wrote to say she had been accepted to UCLA after earning a 4.0 GPA in her community college closet.



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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.