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The Corrections (Sorry, Mr. Franzen, I couldn't resist)

The Corrections (Sorry, Mr. Franzen, I couldn't resist)

Back then, I graded papers like Sherlock Holmes on a case. “Let no error go unexamined” was the mantra where I began my career. But the more I learned about teaching, the more I grew to understand that intensive corrections on student papers did not necessarily translate into better writing.

Now, my comments on student writing are fewer and more focused. Now, I design lessons that emphasize the value of the writing process and guide students toward better writing using models, technology, and revision. The current data craze has butted into this process, but it is mostly a red herring—you cannot measure good writing by reducing it to numbers in a column and you never will.

The methods have changed, but still I show up at the crack of dawn with a plan and a belief that I can teach one student to write a little better today.

Patricia O’Connor
Brookfield High School
Brookfield, Connecticut
16 years of teaching

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