When I was a student teacher, I remember one veteran teacher saying, “Well, the truth is that some students will never really become good writers. They’re just tone deaf.” As I’ve continued to grow and develop as a teacher of writing, I just don’t buy it.
English is a discussion-based class. I want students to interact with what we read and, ultimately, to craft their own interpretations. The class of my dreams involves discussion, debate, questioning, the great back-and-forth that leaves everyone leaning forward in their seat, their eyes completely alive.
But in almost every class, some students learn to lean back, allowing someone else to grapple with a particular concept or tricky passage. It’s easier, safer to listen. Truth be told, I’m like this too.