Tiny Teaching Stories: Holding Zoom Space

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Today's Tiny Teaching Story is by Lauri Mattenson. Lauri is a Lecturer with UCLA Writing programs.


Holding Zoom Space

She’s sitting in her empty bathtub, laptop propped up on a stack of towels, because there’s no room anywhere else in the apartment. He’s in his garage using his neighbor’s wifi. She’s on academic probation and never submitted a draft. They are using a laptop with seven missing keys and a cracked screen. He hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in two weeks. She’s taking care of three little sisters during class. He’s the only Covid-negative person in a household of six. They are working 25 hours a week while going to school full-time. We’re weary, but we’re all here. 


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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.