Tuesday, September 20, 2005

On Writer's Shame (Or: Why Smaller Classes are Better)

I am never happy with the sorts of papers and essays I turn in in classes. I always know that I can do better. But one thing that's interesting over the past year or so is the degree to which that shame has spurred me on to do better. See, my freshman and sophomore years, I knew that my writing was crap, and it upset me, but I didn't feel any personal attachment to it. I was in big classes, I never spoke up, professors never knew my name. In short, a teacher may read my crappy work, give it a grade, give it back, and never think, "Oh, that's Jennifer Bridges's essay" because they simply would never associate the name "Jennifer Bridges" with anything other than a name on a roster.

Maybe it's the same now, but I like to think not. I regularly participate in classes and all of my teachers know my name. Plus, my classes are alot smaller. All of this has been something that has happened in the past year. And the thing that I've noticed coming along with this is this deeper sense of shame about my writing. Honestly, I don't think my writing is terrible. I mean, I get good grades on it. I just have this niggling feeling that if I spent more time on it, it could be so much better.

Now that my teachers know who I am, I feel a greater responsibility not to turn in utter crap. I feel like my work will be more associated with me rather than just a grade to type into the computer. Maybe I'm wrong and teachers, even if they know your name, really don't care and don't think about who's writing what.

Either way, I've said all this to say that I have a stupid little essay that I have to write. I can sit down and get it done with quickly. It won't be very good, but it will meet all the requirements. But I just can't bear the idea of a teacher reading it and thinking, "that's Jennifer's work." But, darn it, I'm just so lazy.

No comments: