College Writing Tips

Dear Teachers: Welcome Back

Christmas Break is over and you’re somewhat devastated, am I right?

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The break was not long enough and all that grading/curriculum planning you told yourself you were going to get done is still sitting in the back of your car.

You’re not alone, but it is time to get back in the groove of things, so wake up! Here are some of my tips to help get you through this upcoming semester:

  1. Get Up Early and Prep for each day. (I can already hear the communal groan). This tip is especially helpful for college professors. I know it may sound tipping to wing your lecture if you’ve written it before, but get up 20 minutes earlier and refresh yourself on the content. Your students will thank you.
  2. Every Sunday night, make sure you are fully prepped for the upcoming week. While morning refreshers are nice, it is better to be fully prepared in case you do not have the time.
  3. Grade immediately! As soon as those essays (or tests) start coming in, start grading them! Do not, I repeat DO NOT, put off grading. It will severely bite you in the rear end at the end of the semester.
  4. Have a Clear and Concise Rubric that you share with the class. This will not only give them direction on what to aim for in their essays, but it will make grading easier on you. In my opinion, no teacher should grade off a “gut-feeling.” Essays can only be graded evenly when being graded against the same scale.
  5. Plan easier lessons during the semester where there is less assignments. This provides breaks for both your students and yourself. During these times, go have fun! (Or more realistically, catch up on the grading that you keep putting off).

There you have it, my five “Welcome Back” tips for professors and teachers alike!

I wish you all the best!


College Writing Tips

College Writing Tip: Go to Class

This might seem a little redundant right?

Well let me tell you a story. When I was substituting at my local high school, one of my senior students told me, “I can’t wait to go to college, it’s gonna be so much better than this place!”

I responded, “You’re right, it will be better, but it is also going to be harder. No one is going to force you to go to class, no one is going to care if you show up or not.”

“Awesome! Then I’ll actually have freedom!”

“That’s true, you will have freedom. You’ll have the freedom to not take your classes seriously, you’ll have the freedom to skip, and you’ll have the freedom to fail subjects that you are more than capable of passing.”

Of course, in true senior fashion, this student shrugged off my warning, but I do hope that they will come to remember it. This semester, I had a student miss over 50% of my class. When it came to the end of the semester and he was failing, he could not understand why regardless of how much I stressed class attendance and participation.

According to CSION PR Newswire (read full article here) students skip class for the following reasons:

This data—consisting of nearly 1.1 million tweets—provided Class120 with an unprecedented look into why students skip class, with five primary reasons becoming clear:

  • Hanging with Friends: 37 percent of the Twitter posts referenced skipping class to spend more time with their friends.

  • Too Tired: 32 percent of students tweeted that they were sleeping or too tired to go to class.

  • Recreation: 17 percent of students indicated a specific recreational event or activity that took precedence over attending class. There were a vast number of specific events mentioned, including sports, watching television and playing video games.

  • Studying: 11 percent of students mentioned being too busy with other school work to attend class.

  • Weather: three percent of students’ posts cited the weather—whether too beautiful or too unpleasant—as the reason they skipped.

As a professor and a teacher, I really do get it. Sometimes going to class sucks, there are days when I would rather be at the beach, or Disneyland, or sleeping, or working on my books, but it is my job to teach and it is the student’s job to attend.

I encourage every student out there to attend classes regularly! You really have no idea what you miss when you miss repeatedly.

Attending is a HUGE part of Succeeding! – KaylaAnn


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Blogs / Life

Teaching – Told Through Gifs

I have been going to school my entire life. In December, I graduated with my Master’s degree and in January I began teaching College-level English! Well, I’ve been teaching for a full month now so let me tell you how it feels:

A Month in Teaching – Gif-Style

The morning of your first class, you feel giddy inside! Everything you’ve worked for is finally here.

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Then, all of the sudden, you’re there, they’re there, and you realize that you are the adult. Even if some of your students are older than you (like 10 years older than you), you are the adult and it’s time to do adulting things, like oh I don’t know, teaching!

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So you finally spit out your own name which you’re not even sure if you spelled it right and then…

Your student’s have hard names and let’s be honest, you’re not all that great with names to begin with (remember, you nearly forgot how to spell yours)

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But you do it, you get through your first day, and before you know it, you even get through your first week! And maybe you’re not the cool, calm, collected professor you set out to be (it’s hard to be that when you’re phone goes off in class and you can’t get it to stop ringing), but maybe you’re the approachable professor that will actually make a difference in your student’s lives.

And even though no one is an English major, you still want them to understand the beauty of writing!

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So you keep at it and you totally light up when that one student who was really struggling just gets it!

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But let’s be honest, there will always be those students who come to class, who haven’t done the reading, who haven’t asked questions, and are still texting on their phone. So you just look at them like:

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Oh, and don’t forget! When you get that first big assignment in from your students and then realize that you will be spending your entire weekend grading.

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And that’s all folks, I’ll have to do a new one of these once I finish my first semester!


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