Truth hurts… but it can propel too.

F paper

“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth,” once said Dan Rather.  In retrospect, I guess it’s a little ironic that Dan Rather made a claim about “truth.”  Still, the statement itself seems true enough. 

I’m thinking of this truth as I return papers to my students this week.  For many of them, the truth that their essay wasn’t clearly or effectively written will hurt.  Some will get mad (mostly at me, of course). Some will become disappointed.  Some, I realize, might even be really surprised.  But all, I hope, will bounce back.  Without this “truth” that their essay needs improvement, they will not be pushed to the next “plateau.”  And it’s my job to nudge them, push them, and lead them.  Sometimes I don’t like doing this, especially with a group of students with whom I really get along.  I am human, after all.  I hate to disappoint them with that C or D on their paper.  But I gotta remind myself – I’m not there to be their friend.  I’m there to show them the truth, the truth that will set them free… 

(Oh my, this posting is full of clichés. Not very good.  But forgive me – I just read and evaluated more than 160 pages of student writing in 3 days… my brain is a little fuzzy.)

Tomorrow, there will be more handing out of this “sharp stick called truth.”

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