Tiny Teaching Stories: Partly Veiled Validation

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Today's Tiny Teaching Story is by Stuart Barbier, a Professor of English at Delta College.

Partly Veiled Validation

I returned to mask-to-mask teaching after three semesters asynchronously online. About half of our college's students elected to return, too. Yet, the hallways were oddly quiet, and I only saw a few colleagues. I'd always speak, even if just a quick hello. One colleague barely acknowledged my greeting the first time, and then was silent all the others, not even looking my way when I added his name. Might as well have been online with my camera off. In contrast, my students acknowledged my presence with their eyes, words, and only partly veiled validation.


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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.