Most students are used to using social media, like email, text, instagram, and so on, to communicate quickly with friends and family. Social media breaks down barriers, which is a wonderful thing . . . but it also sometimes leads students to use some very unprofessional behavior when they email their teachers and – I assume – their bosses. This is not a wonderful thing. In fact, how you present yourself in email may affect how other people interact with you, and it definitely affects how they judge you.
Hand to heart, the honest answer to this question is “as long as it needs to be.”
I know that isn’t the answer that you wanted. But it’s the truth. If you’ve been given a page length or word count, that’s because, in your teacher’s experience, that’s how much space it takes to make a decent response to the writing prompt they’re giving you. It’s never a magic number, let alone a guaranteed grade.
Let’s stop for a minute and talk about what your teacher hears when students ask that perennial question: “how long does it have to be.”
This post is a continuation of Writing Prompts: Understanding what the teacher wants (1/3) and Writing Prompts: Understanding what the teacher wants (2/3)
Third Example: Literary Analysis/Response
In this post, we will go through how to dissect a writing prompt in order to figure out exactly what your teacher wants from you. I will also give you some pointers about how papers could be structured in response to different prompts.
I get it. College is expensive. College students graduated with an average of $37,000 in student loan debt in 2016. In response, college students are working more: nationally, about one-fourth of all college students work full-time while going to school full-time. Almost 40% of undergraduate college students work 30 hours a week (get more detail here). When I ask my students if they work at least part-time, nearly every hand in class goes up.
This post builds off of the Before You Begin blog post, which provided you with some ideas of where to find out what your teacher expects of your writing submissions. In this post, we will review how to read an assignment sheet and a grading rubric, using examples from my own teaching.