I wish I could say that my mind has been occupied with critical theory and novel paths to world peace and lower gasoline prices, but I can't.
Only two and a half weeks remain before finals, and suddenly every student is conscientious. Keeping appointments. Wanting extra help.
And, in some cases, beginning to make significant progress.
One of my writing students made it to the "light bulb moment" this afternoon, the point when she realized that she actually was getting better. Believe me, she still has a long way to go and she knows it. But the look on her face when she said, "You know, I think this draft is just about ready, isn't it?" was worth every page of nonsense she'd produced all term. She went on, "I kept wondering when something was going to happen. What the point was in doing all these assignments."
Then, midway through the conference, she uttered the real magic words: "Hmmm...I don't think I even need that part." And she marked it out all by herself.
I'm sure this is a very tired simile, and almost certainly not original. But, like a perfect sweater from Goodwill, it's new to me. Teaching writing is like planting bulbs. All I do is put stuff in the ground when it's still could outside. I hope for rain and sun and do my best to keep predators away. I wait. Some bulbs bloom, and some don't. Some bide two or three years before they find their beauty.
Today I enjoyed a small garden in full bloom.
I'd like to give special thanks to the master gardeners over at The Lithia Writers' Collective. Their blog has inspired me this spring and provided many wonderful tips for yard work.