Tiny Teaching Stories: The Big Reveal

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Today's Tiny Teaching Story is by Dr. Chris M. Anson. Chris is a Distinguished University Professor at North Carolina State University, where he is also the Director of the Campus Writing & Speaking Program.


The Big Reveal

On the last day of the semester, the elderly bearded gentleman in my 200-student course on English language and linguistics approached me, smiling. “I have thoroughly enjoyed this class,” he said. “You’re clearly a dedicated and student-centered teacher.” As a newly-minted professor, I took his words as high praise. “You see, I’m retired,” he continued, “but I take one course each semester to keep learning.” “That’s awesome!” I said. “What sort of work did you do?” He smiled. “Until last year, I was the provost here.” Stunned, I realized that his gift was more than his praise; it was waiting until the end to disclose.


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.