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John Cameron Vaughn
Previous English Class Experience
Fri Feb 1, 2013 9:09am

During high school I actually ended up having the same English teacher for two years. I had him my sophomore and my junior year for AP English. There were things that I really enjoyed about his class and things that I didnít really enjoy either. The thing I enjoyed most about his class was the very informal, open discussion feel that it had to it. We would come to class every day and just put the desks in a circle for class. This created a very relaxed atmosphere where it felt very easy to say anything you wanted to say. The class was also set up so it was very involved with lots of discussions, debates, and activities that really opened your mind and actually engaged you in class. It wasnít just sitting in your desk and copying the notes that the teacher had put on the board. It wasnít a passive environment, it was very active and I enjoyed that a lot. We also read a wide variety of different articles, books, and other written material. This was great because you got to see great writing that had been put to use in the real world. However, the thing that bothered me the most was that all we did was read articles or watch documentaries and talk about them. It seemed that we hardly ever focused on writing. Sure we would deconstruct the things we read as a class, but when it came time to actually write a paper for the class my teacher just seemed to assume that we would know how to write a paper perfectly because we had read a few good examples. He didnít really illustrate his expectations to us which I guess he didnít have to spell out perfectly. But then he would hand us back our papers and then critique them to no ends and praise the one naturally good writer to no end. Iím completely open to criticism because thatís the only way youíll be able to learn and improve at anything you do in life. It was just the fact that he seemed to assume that we could read his mind, and clearly we couldnít. He would also make handouts to give to the class composed of different examples he compiled from the papers in the class. It was helpful to see the good examples from your class but then would he just rake the bad examples and when you finally realized that he was tearing apart your closing paragraph it wasnít exactly the best feeling in the world. He would point out what you did wrong but then he wasnít the best at actually giving you a correction or a suggestion as to how to fix it.

The things that you could do that would be beneficial to my writing would be explaining to the class exactly what youíre looking for. Youíve already done that to a certain extent and I appreciate that. As a person and with anything I do I appreciate it when people cut the crap and get straight to the point. I also like having a very active class and enjoy participating in class discussions. It seems like your class will definitely be set up for this and Iím looking forward to it. As a student the thing I want the most is to be told exactly what is wanted of me or my writing. Unfortunately, I canít read minds and my last teacher just never seemed to be able to grasp that concept.

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    • Previous English Class Experience - John Cameron Vaughn, Fri Feb 1 9:09am
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