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He took a sip of his lukewarm coffee.

The familiar, bittersweet taste washed over

his palette. “Teacher fuel,” he said to himself, reading the phrase stamped on his
favorite mug and smiling out loud. There was no one else in the classroom, and hadn’t
been for hours, so there was no one to see the goofy expression that crept across his
face. “Okay, just a few more minutes, and I’m done.” He looked at the heavy stack of
graded papers for perspective. With all the aches in his neck, the stiffness in his back,
and the strain behind his eyes, he needed the encouragement. “Okay, let’s see,” he
sighed as he gathered up what remained of his concentration to input the grades into
his grade book software. He enjoyed the relative ease of keeping grades on the
computer over that of a grade book. “That will just about do it.” He entered the last of
the numeric scores into the spreadsheet, and the software calculated the average grade
of the personal narrative assignment he had labored over for the past three hours. “87%
is not bad, not bad at all,” he commented aloud. “Whoa, wait a minute.” His smile slowly
dissolved. “What’s this?” His eyes narrowed on Michael Tevard’s grade row.

Tevard, Michael 68.2% 0% 84.5% 95% 0% 72.9% 0% 45.8%

“He didn’t do another one!” Mr. Sanderson was upset now. “I’ve talked with that
kid numerous times now about his grades. What is going through his mind? Why would
such a talented young man be so flippant about this class? Doesn’t he care that he’s
ruining his chances for college?” For several moments, Mr. Sanderson sat at his desk
with his head in his hands. Then he slowly got up from his desk, and went home—
leaving his teacher fuel behind.

October 2, 2010
Dear Diary,
Mr. Sanderson called my parents today after school, and narc’d on me about
that stupid essay. My dad pulled his usual and yelled at me all through
dinner. It don’t matter, though. I don’t listen to him either. Why can’t Mr.
Sanderson just leave me alone like the rest of my english teachers? So what!
I didn’t do his lame assignment. I hate writing about myself and I hate five
paragraph essays. I like writing, but I like writing about my own stuff.
Besides, all he ever does is mark up my papers and put a letter on it. I never
really try anyway, I just write to make him to shut up about it. I just want to
write something I can put myself into. Let them talk, its all they ever do.

Student Teacher
I'm only doing this to I'm not just doing this to
get you off my back get on your back
Why do just sit up there? Why do you sit over there?
assigning journals
writing notes
stupid books
head on your arms
Dressed like a stiff
For what? For what?
What good does it do me? What good does it do you?
I love to write Why don't you just write?
This will prepare you for college
research papers
personal narratives
I wish you would make this fun Life is not all about fun
Perhaps you should just let me fail Perhaps I should just let you fail
I gave up a long time ago
I can't let you give up
You don't understand me
What are you thinking?
All you do is grade
You barely try
I need choices
You need more structure
I want you to recognize my talent Don't you know you have talent?
Should I make your work easier?
Your work is too easy
Did you see your grades?
I don't care about grades
Why don't you talk to me?
I want to you to talk to me
You just don't get it do you? You just don't get it do you?

From Marilyn Brown <>

Sent Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:04 am
To Jon Sanderson < >, Loupe Flores
,< >
Cc Kathy Baker <>
Subject English Department: MCTE Conference Clearance
English Department,
I have decided to go ahead and give you clearance to go to the Autumn Assembly for
the MCTE. This year’s conference looks pretty exciting, and might help with some of the
things I’ve been hearing from our department head, Mr. Sanderson. Here is some
information on the conference from the MCTE website:

The 2010 Autumn Assembly: Motivating Young Writers

Featuring Teacher Educators Michael W. Smith and Jeff Wilhelm and Educational Psychologists Shui Fong Lam and Yin-
Kum Law , October 21, 2010 Lansing Sheraton Hotel Lansing, MI Please plan to join us on Friday, October 21, 2010 as
we welcome four nationally acclaimed, award-winning authors to inspire our conversations on motivation, teaching, and
learning: Michael W. Smith, Jeff Wilhelm, Shui Fong Lam, and Yin-Kum Law. Smith and Wilhelm both compose for pre-
service and in-service teachers and motivate writers and readers of all ages to find their voice and tell their story.
As a teacher, are you
Making your lessons appropriately challenging for your students?
Giving your students autonomy within the writing process?
Using assessment to provide your students with a sense of competence?
Adding real life significance to the activities in the classroom?

In today’s teaching world, the possibilities can seem endless for motivating students to discover their voices with
engaging texts, tools, and technologies. As Smith and Wilhelm reminded us in What Teachers Need to Know About
Motivation: “Teachers [should] focus on situation al interest as a way to promote learning for all students, regardless of
their situational interests.” Please plan to submit a proposal this spring or summer for our MCTE Autumn Assembly 2010.
You might share with your colleagues how you support students to give them a sense of purpose in their writing. Or,
perhaps you’ll demonstrate how you collaboration, writing workshops, thematic units, and inspiring writing invitations,
and new technologies. Our call for proposals will be available this spring at Bright Ideas Conference and published in our
journals, the Language Arts Journal of Michigan and the Michigan English Teacher (available at Contact Toby Kahn-Loftus ( with
additional questions.
Please let me know who will be attending by Friday the 15th,

Marilyn Brown

Pointview High School

Mr. Sanderson’s Conference Notes

Michael Smith and Jeff Wilhelm 10:30 am session

Creating Situational Interests for your students:
Two kinds of student interest available to tap into
Individual interest
Situational interest
Smart teachers use situational interest to motivate students
Use tasks that involve collaboration with peers
Use and create relationships to family, authors, characters,
and teachers
Give students control over parts of the learning task
Develop a feeling of competence in your students
Use writing to solve problems in a larger social context
Make writing assignments look like authentic writing
Use learning tasks that provide immediate pay-offs to the

Shui ** Lam and Yin Kum **? 12:00 pm session

Motivating Instructional Practice:
6 components of motivation:
Real-Life Significance
Striking Points:
Writing is as emotional as it is cognitive
Students are motivated when tasks are not perceived as too difficult
or too easy (KWL)
Children praised for effort are motivated to achieve a learning goal,
praised for intelligence they are motivated to achieve a
performance goal (use evaluation both to give them a sense of
competence and teach them to write better)

October 30, 2010

Dear Diary,
Something weird is going on in my english class. Mr. Sanderson just gave us
a writing assignment where we get to pick the topic and choose the format of
the paper. He said we are gonna have a lot of free time in class to write and
read each others papers and stuff. I don’t know whats going on, but I think I
like it. This may mean I don’t have to copy those stupid sentences out of the
book anymore. I may also get to write the way I want, not with that 5
paragraph stuff. He also said something about making a literary magazine in
class. Is he on crack or something? Well, if he actually does what he says, my
stories and poems are gonna be all over it. This also might mean there are
gonna be 30 some people on my back about writing, and not just one. Oh,