Since I entered the university, I’ve met a lot of professors who made us send our papers to them through email. I kept on hearing their anecdotes on how they did those stuff. I experienced a lot of emailing, and at one point, I got used to it.
Recently, I taught my students how to write an argumentative text. I discussed that writing is a process and demonstrated to them the process every writer should follow. Of course, I just presented the basics: prewriting, organizing, writing the first draft, revising, editing, and writing the final draft. Also, I provided the three parts of an essay (introduction, body, and conclusion) and the techniques on writing each part. I gave some examples, too. To experience important parts of the process, I allotted time for writing the first draft and made writing the final draft an assignment.
While planning my lesson ahead of time, I got a brilliant idea. I thought of assigning my students to email me their essays aside from submitting a hard copy of their manuscript because I want them to experience sending an email. I am not a college professor; I’m teaching high school kids in a public school. The assignment is not required and is only optional, but many of my students responded to it.
This is the first time I made emailing an assignment, and I am so happy on how it turned out. Although I am not yet teaching college students, I received a lot of emails already (from high school students). I had to check them one by one and email a response. There’s one student who emailed me her work a day after I gave the task. It’s funny to see how they named their files, and some sent me jpeg files instead of document. Of course, I had to reply to them the appropriate thing to do.
Not only that, I’m glad that many of them took it seriously, that some of them sent me PM through facebook and one through text regarding the task at hand. One student sent me a PM through messenger. (I didn’t know that messenger still exists).
A year ago I lectured about 21st century skills and last summer I did demo-teach using technology, but it felt so good when I finally used technology in the most relevant, significant, and realistic way possible without doing it in a forced trying hard manner. I still have to read the essays of my students and see how I can help them, but this email task opened an opportunity for me to realize on the possibilities and radical ways education can empower our kids.
Teaching students to write an essay is one thing; letting them experience communication through email is another. Making them do both task amidst all odds is also another story. They might have problems such as access to internet and other barriers, but many of them did succeed. Some of them let their siblings, friends, and even a computer shop/owner to send the email. Few students decided to resubmit a reworked essay and there are a lot more anecdotes worth sharing.
In my silent moments, I reflect on these things, and my heart rejoices every time there’s a feat in my teaching experience. I guess teaching is not about teaching alone, but it’s also about being able to learn new things to enhance our craft. I’m happy to be a teacher.