Tuesday, November 23, 2004

report on essays

I haven't been writing because I've been sick for the past week and a half. Today is Tuesday and I believe I'm over it, but for the usual lingering cough. In retrospect, I realize that it's no surprise that I'd have gotten sick when I did. I uprooted myself in my mind 8 months ago, when I started thinking about working in Orleans Parish, and, except for the hurricane days (which weren't the least bit restful) have been marching forward like a driven 25 year old, mainly on bravado, barely letting myself touch the Earth. The everyday, conscious me, doesn't understand about moderation or delayed gratification, so something wiser in me has to sometimes step in and stop my body from making another step, usually through illness. I appreciate that about myself.
The last time I wrote was last Tuesday, and we were at the point of attempting to pull together notes and thoughts, and to take the leap toward putting the details into the big picture, into their own big pictures. I just read the papers I picked up Friday. They almost did it. Had I included another step in the process -- a free writing between the first rough draft and the final draft -- they would have had a chance to naturally, without pressure, pull their thoughts together without trying to be "good." It occurred to me last week, but I was afraid I was asking them to write too much, so I skipped the step. So, the final products weren't what I'd hoped for, but what I see is that another, equally important thing happened. They did that thing that I wrote about in an earlier blog; they read some texts, made notes from the texts, and pulled everything together into a coherent product. They wrote researched reports, I realize now, not essays. At first I was disappointed, but as I read on and thought about it, I realized that what they did here may have been the more useful thing they could have done in terms of their education.

Some did write essays, however. Here are a few thesis-like lines:

"Real writers, to me, are like 'ghetto spokespeople.' We need them so that people who are not high class, can get a better interpretation of what's going on." RM
"The way we live and the way we act today is not that different from the way they did it back then."BG
"There have been many good people that have loved our world, tried to make a difference in our world, and even changed our society not only for themselves but for everyone. Whitman was a man who loved America...he believed in America...he believed that sharing was the way to do things. As he says, 'For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.'...Not only did they have Americans that have loved our world we have had Americans that have died for us. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of them..."LS
(a concluding paragraph) "All these people went through a lot to get where we're at now. We should appreciate what they have done for us. They all achieved what their goals were. They took advantage of their opportunities to succeed. We should take advantage of all the opportunities we have. Even though you make mistakes it does not hurt to try again. The harder you try, the better you would get at it."KC

I'm happy with the way things turned out. And I'm proud of them. I'll leave it at that for now.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:57 PM  
Blogger Nancy McKeand said...

"Ghetto Spokespeople" !!! I love it!

Melanie, they got it. Maybe not all of them or in exactly the way you would have wanted, but they got it.

You must be looking forward to trying it again next semester. Maybe the extra step will happen then, or maybe it won't. Either way, they will do well because you believe in them and trust them.

Glad you are feeling better!

8:17 PM  

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