How not to write

In order to let my students know what good and bad persuasive letters looks like, I had to write my own.  I composed one over the course of a few days and another in about ten minutes before class started the day I handed it out.  I was trying to emulate the perfunctory effort I typically get when students aren’t in the mood to try.

I gave the kids both essays, the good and the bad, and the same rubric I’m grading their papers on.  The students were harsher than I expected.  Everyone failed the bad one (“What idiot wrote this crap” is something I heard a few times), but a few even gave my good example a C.  Ouch!  I was actually trying on that one.

Here’s the text from my “bad” persuasive letter.  I think it’s pretty funny (for English teachers).  NOTE: WordPress won’t let me paste in the intentionally horrific creative font use.  Please download the attached file for added hilarity.

I think the school needs a new library.  I am not the only that think so.  90% of the school wants a new library, please think about it.

There aren’t any good books in the library.  And there aren’t enough comupters.  Everytime I go in there all, of the computers are full and I can’t get my work done.  Please do something about this.

Sometimes the librarian is mean to us students.  I feel the librarians should respect us at all times.  We should be allowed to talk to our friends, in the library if they are having for example a hard time with their boyfriend or parent.
Us students should also be allowed to get on my space in the library.  My space doesn’t not make any noise so it will not distract others and we students can still update our profiles.  This leaves for time for homework when I am at home so I feel this is a good idea the my space in the libarry.

You should listen to me.  There are not enough computers in the library.  The librarians are mean when my friends really need some one to talk to.  And myspace should be allowed.  I think the school food should be better to, like other schools.



One response to “How not to write

  1. Cheryl Sanford

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. I receive emails from management at work that are not as well written as your bad example. Your students will go far and make big bucks, despite their ignorance.
    Students know when you care about the subject, teaching, and the students. You may not be receiving the results you are looking for, but I am confident that you are having a positive effect on these students.
    Don’t give up!

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