Letter to the Unsure Writer

Dear Unsure Writer,

We’ve all been there: the place where we’ve written a paper and turned it in, and we’re afraid of the possibility of a failing grade. We’ve all produced papers that we feel are not up to par with the grades we want on them. But take heart! We don’t always have to feel like what we’ve done isn’t good enough. There are a few ways to check and make sure that the work we’re about to turn in is exactly what we want it to be.

The first and easiest way is to simply read the paper out loud, especially from the first to the last paragraph. Take 10-15 minutes to sit down with the paper and go through it. People often find that by reading their work out loud, confusing phrases and typos are brought to light and can be easily fixed. The ear is the best tool to check for mistakes after slaving over a paper for who-knows-how-long, but remember to spend some time away from the work before reading it to give the brain a break.

Get a friend or two to read it. Not only can they catch typing and phrasing aberrations, they can tell if the ideas present in the paper go along with what the writer wants to say. This prevents rabbit trails and ensures every point refers back to the thesis. Plus, it isn’t the author tiredly rereading the same material without actually noticing anything wrong. Most of the time, minor errors that were previously over looked could add up to a large percentage of points counted off by the professor.

Ask the professor if s/he will take a rough draft and give comments/corrections. The professor is the one grading the final product, so s/he knows what is desired when the work is turned in. This is a great way to understand which direction to go on a paper and ensure that the all the guidelines set by the professor are met. S/he can give helpful advice either on the paper or what to do if s/he will not look at a rough draft.

Finally, the option that will give authors the most help possible: visit the University Writing Center (UWC). At the Center, a trained consultant is able to sit down with authors and walk through their papers in a friendly, helpful way. The consultants at the UWC are well trained in the most up-to-date practices and rules of grammar and writing needs. They are paid to walk alongside students with their works, so why not set up an appointment to go through a paper? Their job is to help all writers become more confident in their skills and to make sure those writers understand what mistakes they make on a regular basis so they can be fixed. A consultation may bring to light some obscure meanings or flow issues that had not been detected by the author’s ear or friends.

After working hard on a paper, it is a wise decision to get all the help available in order to be confident about the product being turned in. There is no need to be unsure about the work produced when so many options are available to help improve it.

So the next time a paper is due, don’t feel uncomfortable about the work being submitted. Take advantage of the many choices available, especially the UWC, in order to be confident with the final product.

Written by Maddison

Image credit

Life of an Education Major

Let us set the scene: it’s a late night, craft supplies are spread across the floor, and a lesson plan must be presented the next morning over Main Idea and Supporting Details. The Education Major is calculating in her head that if she goes to bed in an hour, she can still get 5 hours of shut-eye.[1] All the parts for the Direct Teach and Guided Practice[2] must be done before the sweet ecstasy of sleep can finally take over.

Congratulations! The lesson plan went smoothly and the “students,” aka the classmates, learned all there is to know about Main Idea and Supporting Details. It’s time to celebrate with a trip to Whataburger. Afterward, the next project beckons.

The life of an Education Major (Ed Major) is stressful to say the least. There is always something due that deals with a core subject or assessment, whether that be a lesson plan, a bulletin board, or a project over the Texas Revolution (or any other topic). Teaching, as with many other professions, is definitely a calling and not for the faint hearted, but it provides the most rewarding feeling knowing that we, as future teachers, will change the lives of our students.

137 hours. That is how many class credits Education Majors need to graduate. Granted, that is not nearly as many needed for Music Education Majors or various other degree plans; however, embedded in the course load are many classes that are critical for our survival as educators. We are taught how to teach all major subjects, how to address the community, school, and district standards, and how to write an effective lesson plan. We are required to get into the classroom early on and must accrue 200 observation hours before our final semester of student teaching. Essentially, by the time we graduate and have a classroom of our own, we are prepared for basically everything. Great, right? DBU would not have the number one Early Childhood Education program in the country if it didn’t prepare its students for all but the apocalypse.

Creativity runs wild. What better way to encourage students to use their imaginations than to use our own? The Curriculum lab, where Ed Majors concoct all their fanciful lessons and projects, is full of materials from cutting boards to books to rolls of giant colorful paper. This is where the magic happens. It has the resources needed to make any classroom project dream come true. The only problem is that it is closed on weekends and is a little unorganized. Ed Majors have the privilege of unlocking their inner child for the rest of their career.

ed-grad-hat

The beauty of being an Education Major is the fact that when asked why we want to teach, our answers vary. For me, personally, I love kids. I love how fun and random they are. But mostly, I love getting to see the light bulb go off in their heads when they have understood a concept, when they finally say, “Ohhh, I get it.” That is the best feeling. For others, it is because they had a great teacher who taught them how to love school and made a big impact on their lives. Never once have I heard someone say they want to teach because teachers are so highly paid. Because, let’s face it, teachers get paid more than NFL players, right? It isn’t about money or the summers off but about the ability we have to change lives and create safe places of learning.

Even though many late nights lay behind and before all Ed Majors, the end goal shines brighter than all the setbacks and disappointments. By the time graduation rolls around, Ed Majors have been through almost everything. It is sweet relief to know that from then on, what we have dreamed about doing will finally come true. This is the life of an Education Major, and I would not have it any other way.


[1] I meant sleep.

[2] Two parts of a DBU lesson plan.

Written by Maddison

Image credits: Featured image, education graduation hat