Saturday, March 15, 2008

fanning the flame

The other day, I gave my class a lesson on the difference between paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting. Keep in mind that I teach academic writing as opposed to creative writing. And this wasn't necessarily the kind of writing I wanted to blog about. Nor did I want this to be a blog about teaching. But this has been sticking in my mind.

Since I'd just finished the Stephen King book (On Writing) on audio, I decided to dig out my print copy and use a page or two from it as part of the day's lesson/activity. I used the chapter that opens, "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things: write a lot and read a lot." (I shouldn't be directly quoting, here -- I don't think I've got it verbatim, but truth be told I'm too lazy to get up and get my book.) The activity was for them to read the two-three pages I had provided them with, and then they needed to summarize those three pages, and write a second paragraph about writing in which they'd have to bring King in as a source.

As I walked around the room, observing the students' progress, one student, a male, asked me where the passage came from. I told him.
"I liked this very much. I think I might like to read this book."
I was elated, and I over-enthusiastically encouraged him to do so.

Thing is, I'm thinking about going to the used bookstore to see if they have a copy, and buying it for him.

I've had these urges (for lack of a better word) before. I've been tempted to buy certain students journals or a novel or something to fan the spark of interest into a flame. I'm always wary of playing favorites, however, and other students finding out that the teacher is buying presents. Not to mention the ethics, as well as appearances, especially in this day and age. My giving a book to a male student? Yikes.

So I'm at a loss for what to do. I'm thinking of giving it to him at the end of the semester. Maybe. It's nagging at me, though. It's that moment of opportunity and I don't wanna succumb to fear -- I've let too many of those moments slip by before, and regret them.
What to do?

So, this post really isn't about writing after all, but it is about my being so in love with the craft that I want to pass it on to others. And, perhaps, it's about my loving my students as well. And that is worth writing about.

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