William Michael Goins

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01
Dec

9/2015 A Three-Page paper is three pages.

September, and classes have now been going on for several weeks. This is my bitch entry, and I’ll try hard not to do many of them. Wow, it is so amazing how poorly high school students are taught English. Every single semester I have many of my first semester college freshman students who can’t write simple sentences, write nothing but run-on sentences or comma splice sentences, understand the fundamentals of grammar, or are able to follow simple directions. A three page paper is three pages. Pretty simple, huh? Apparently not. I get emails asking how long the next paper should be. Really? Happens with the one-pages I have them do too. There is one – 1 – correct way to format an academic paper, yet most can’t or won’t manage to do it correctly until the points taken off multiply sufficiently to make them understand how serious I am about doing it correctly. I do get some good students, but they are in the serious minority. Two, three a class of twenty-five or so is the norm and it takes the full sixteen weeks of the semester to get most up to where they can do well in future classes that require writing (like pretty much everything, sometimes even including math classes).  The first part of the semester lacks good-feeling feedback. The end is usually much better. Okay. Enough time away from the stack waiting on me to grade them. Back to the trenches looking for that occasional outstanding paper that lets me know I am doing something right here. There’s simply too few of them coming into freshman classes anymore.

 

 December 1st, 2015  
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01
Dec

9/2015 Labor Day

Been a really long week, so I am more than a little glad for the extra day off that Labor Day provides. The new semesters means first academic papers from freshman classes, and I also have editing needed on a manuscript for my agent.

The student paper grading went well – for me, not so well for the students. Freshman composition class papers generally suck the first time around, partly, I’m sure, because of the attempt to do the absolute minimum necessary as was done in high school and a lack of understanding that they are not now in thirteenth grade. Bad mistake, and most make it, though not all recover from it. An always too large portion of the papers were truly awful and ended up as F papers (I actually gave F/D’s to most since they are the first college level papers attempted by these guys). A few were legitimate A’s, a few B’s, and a couple were C’s.

Most issues were caused by a distinct inability to follow directions regarding the format, length, topic, or whatever, as well as a general lack of ability to write in any sort of cohesive manner or understand the fundamentals of grammar. That said, lots (and I mean LOTS) of markup on these papers will be discussion next week and that will lead to much improved papers the next time around. Always does. Unfortunately, many have been allowed to write really crappy papers in high school by teachers who didn’t care and/or bother to prepare them for college, so it takes the full 16 week semester to get some improved to where they are solid writers. Those who have trouble distinguishing the difference between college and high school will likely not make it through the class, and so it goes. Not everyone really should be in college. Those who will let me, will write and write well in fourteen more weeks, if they make the effort. The others will struggle with college writing assignments for the duration of the time they remaining college.

Once the grading was done, I was able to work on to the manuscript I’m completing and get it and several synopses finished for my agent. As of a few minutes ago, it’s in her hands (electronically speaking). On to completing book two of the trilogy.

 December 1st, 2015  
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 Beginning Writers, Complaints, Ramblings  
   
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01
Dec

8/2015 Reworking the Syllabus

It’s a Thursday, which means no classes today. It also usually means I write. A lot. But today I’m working on reworking a syllabus for some of my classes. Seems there was a book edition change I was somehow unaware of and the syllabus readings either don’t match page-wise or the reading itself is no longer in the book and I have to find another that fits what I am doing at that point in the class. Arrrrrrrrg! – and I don’t mean that in a cute pirate way.

That said (actually, screamed), it does appear the classes themselves are good, meaning, everyone for whatever odd reason, is actually on time. These are freshman classes and no one is ever one time, yet, these guys are and most of them are there ten whole minutes before the class starts. After teaching so long it scares me more than just a little, to tell the truth.

Oh, and I finally found time to be do some writing on BOOK TWO of my trilogy. It’s the sequel to the first book and continues the trilogy. Trivia answer – slaves in Texas were free for three (3) years before word finally got here. Three years! Absolutely unfathomable.

 December 1st, 2015  
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 Complaints, Ramblings  
   
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