Determination.

Today, I am grateful for the virtue determination.

I was able to finish grading papers today; but without determination to complete the job, I might have slacked or waited until the last minute. Students’ papers take time to read, and complete concentration is needed to accomplish the task. At the start of my task, I remember thinking to myself that I was bound and determined to work through the stack. The best way for me to do so is to read and grade the best papers last and focus my attention on the ones that would need the most work, so that I would not be exhausted if I chose to grade the best papers first.

How would I know which paper takes less time? Well, after spending an entire semester reading papers, I can determine which students need more help than others. So I stacked the pile accordingly. Staying firm in my purpose, I managed to complete the stack. I had made a decision earlier this term to only grade papers when I am rested and ready to tackle the work. I am pleased that I found myself less likely to become upset at the flaws in papers that I know I had explained all term. Early writers need room to improve. Over the years, I make it a point to create a comfortable learning environment for students which would allow them to make mistakes. It is through mistakes that students learn the ropes. Revision is an important part of the writing process. Students should be able to see a difference between a draft and a final piece worthy to turn in for a grade.

I am also grateful those students who completed the courses I taught this term. Their resolve to jump the hoops I set for them must be acknowledged. Most of them finished out the course with a paper that was well-organized and proved their points. It takes perseverance to complete an English course, even first level college writing classes. These courses set the foundation for future writing. I am proud of my students. And this term, the majority of them received grades above C, the average for students who suddenly realize the rigor of college writing is beyond what they were taught in high school. I am happy to say that I held them accountable, and I guided them to the next level. No longer do they think a paragraph should stop after five sentences – a rule that I had to help them break immediately. Yes, I feel good that they are ready to move on.

What does it take to demonstrate determination?
* Set your mind to the task at hand.
* Be sure that you’re well-rested before beginning.
* Allow enough time to take needed breaks.
* Stay focused on the task.
* Above all, complete the task to solidify the feelings of accomplishment.

Determination is a virtue because it takes inner-strength to achieve any goal. It takes persistence, but goals can be accomplished. Good luck.

Joy,

Cheryl

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