Perhaps it is the tantalizing hint of spring weather followed by snowflakes; or maybe it's that spring-break-is-over-but-the-semester-is-never-ending feeling. Perhaps it is the fact that one of my English 101 classes this semester seems to be semi-comatose (which state seems to be wildly contagious); that soap operas are dying, and that the only job I know is to write them; perhaps it is the fact that my agent, after years of ignoring my pestering, has finally produced a gargantuan list of rejections I have received (without the single name of an editor or any reasons for the rejections) that is either completely made-up or completely not made up -- either possibility being completely depressing; perhaps it is the fact that my grumpiness about my career has made me a grumpier-than-usual mother, daughter, and wife in these past few weeks. I said to my husband the other day, "I feel as though I'm not good at anything!"
So... not to be a downer, but I decided to have my students (who are at that depressingly overburdened point in the semester) to do the following exercise tomorrow morning:
Students are often very good at making generalizations but reluctant to provide examples and illustrations to bring their essays to life. In the name of encouraging both positive thoughts AND the practice of providing the evidence to back them up, I will ask them to:
1. Make a list of personal strengths. Be unstinting in your own praise. Do not write less than five items.
2. Provide a concrete example from your life of each of these strengths in action.
Do not turn in your list but, rather, tuck it in your pocket, hold it close to your heart, and think of it often.
Happy spring, all! --Jeanne Marie