Tiny Teaching Stories: Voices

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Today's Tiny Teaching Story is by Jenna Morton-Aiken, Assistant Professor at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy.



Day 1: Welcome to Technical Writing. I cultivate tone and words to establish authority with young, mostly male, maritime cadets. Call me Dr. Their body language shouts, Stop trying, your class doesn’t matter to me. Weeks 1-3: Deploy resistance with strong voice and applied expertise as Covid-19’s shadow grows. Maybe this doesn’t suck, white gaps between double-spaced submissions whisper. Week 4: Campus abandoned, we’re all silenced. Week 5+: I’m here, I write with memes and raw emotions, my voice virtually transformed. Theirs, too—Help me, they say. I’m drowning, they say. Your words matter to me, they say. We write.


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

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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.