Tag Archives: students

Questions: A poetic view

Remember that thing about listening to students?

Oh, and that teacher in Alaska who gets such fabulous questions from her students?

Well, Dina over at The Line feels the same way. AND she writes about it beautifully…

Nothing’s worse

than clearing up at the end of the day and

finding the small lifeless body of a question

under a desk—


crushed mouth


I find less and less of them

the better I get,

the more the years go on–

but I still find them.

I always cry.

But seriously. Go read the whole thing. It’s worth your time.


Teachers as writers

Alexs Pate, the author of Amistad, visited my college last year to speak about rap, writing and a whole mess of stuff that was on his mind. I ran across a one-sentence note I made during his talk:

Writers need an empathetic imagination with their characters.

Rephrase this as:

Teachers need an empathetic imagination with their students.

And now it’s beautifully stated as a core principle of my teaching. On end of course evaluations, I add this task (and others) to the form:

I believe it is important for a teacher to see their content through his/her students’ eyes; not just to understand things in his/her own way.

What evidence have you seen that I attempted to see the content of this course through the eyes of an [e.g.] 1100 student?

And these comments are the ones that most guide my planning for future semesters. When diverse students cite diverse aspects of the course, I know I have done well. When students leave this blank or if they all cite the same thing, I know there is work to be done.