Writer’s Journal #6 – Your Writing Practices

If I’m being completely honest, I have always underestimated writing, ever since I was in school. I feel part of this is my fault (I’m rather lazy at heart) and part of it is my teachers’ doing.

I grew up in Italy as an only child being raised by a single mother, which meant that the other half of my family was elsewhere: in this case, in the US. This presented me with the ideal chance to write letters to stay in touch with my father and grandparents, which I did, semi-regularly. I’m a lazy person at heart, don’t judge me. But it pains me to admit: that was the only time I did any writing apart from school assignments (which I did reluctantly, of course). But fortunately, I discovered a passion for teaching English as a Foreign language and with it the pleasure of using words and learning strategies, which has really helped me improve professionally and personally.  And this is what brought me here.

And this is what brought me here: as part of my lessons, I also do preparation for English certifications (pieces of paper that tell the world you know English to the level you’ve passed) and a part of these exams is writing. It obviously takes time to learn how to write well and if you’re doing it in a language you don’t use every day, it can get even harder. This year, a group of students who sat the exam passed all the other sections with distinction, but the writing part was a simple Pass. Basically, a C. I always strive to make them perform at their best, which means that there must have been something wrong in the way I taught them. How could I solve this situation? By taking up studying how to write myself, so that I could transfer the knowledge to them and be sure that next time they will pass with higher grades. That is my motivation and I have to say that so far I’ve already gotten some important pieces of information I know will help me in this feat.

In order to make this possible, I think I need to overcome my limit when it comes to persistence: I tend to give in if something doesn’t meet my expectations, I believe I see it as a waste of time and energy I could be putting into something more profitable (not only on the financial side). I am aware this is a side of my personality I need to work on, and it’s never too late to start. To be honest, it’s a side of me I try to hide from my students because I know it can be a huge obstacle in growing academically. I know it has been for me. My aim is not to succeed as a writer, but to be successful as an EFL teacher also for what regards writing.

I expect this course will help me to that end, though I am aware I will need to pull the wagon too. I am prepared for it. I also hope that my peers will gain the instruments they need to improve their own writing, so as to be able to have better chances of finding a job, or of passing a college course or even writing professionally in their blogs or books. Writing can make us better people, by using reflection and rhetoric we can push our brains to be more active and stimulated, which hopefully will lead to being capable of feeling more empathy, which will finally result in more peace. That is my hope for the future.

What do you think’?


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