That ‘aha’ moment

Every semester and summer session I teach, the same thing happens. The moment comes when students realize that writing for real audiences is different than writing for school.

They are used to writing to prove to the teacher that they have read the material or have done enough research. They have mastered the five-paragraph essay and want to force every writing task into that well-known form, even if it means hacking off a few limbs to get the body to fit in box.

Then a light starts to flicker. It usually sounds something like this:

This is really different than what I’m used to. In my other classes …

Aha! There she blows! Now we can start making some real progress. I always love when that moment comes.