Tiny Teaching Stories: Superheroes

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Today's Tiny Teaching Story is by Michelle Graber, Instructor of English and Communications at Mitchell Technical College.



Students sit six feet apart – eyes beaming up at me expectantly, masks askew. I’ve never noticed so many of my students’ eyes: shades of blue, brown, green, and hazel. I wonder what the rest of their faces look like, this sea of superheroes tolerating the mandated masking of their identities for the sake of public approval. Wow. I’m teaching superheroes. I face the class during the pandemic peak and push them through their studies. One student raises his hand to ask a question, and I find myself contemplating Charlie Brown’s problems understanding his teacher. She must’ve been wearing a mask, too. “A little louder, please,” I say, trying to resist leaning forward to hear better as I meet the grass-green orbs of the student whose name I can’t associate with a face and whose words I cannot hear. 


Submit your own Tiny Teaching Story to tinyteachingstories@macmillan.com! See the Tiny Teaching Stories Launch for submission details and guidelines.

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.