I enjoyed my writing partnership. It gave me a chance to get a sense of the writing style and ability of a high school student, and also gave me a chance to exercise my own critiquing/providing constructive criticism skills again.
One thing that didn’t work for me was that I constantly lost track of what I was supposed to be doing during the writing partnership & when. This is mostly my fault as, due to a death in the family, I missed our second class and fell behind as a result. One suggestion I have for future writing partnerships is including the schedule in the syllabus, as I heavily rely on syllabi in all of my classes out of habit.
Another suggestion (and I’m not sure how possible this is/whether it was already covered and students just didn’t execute it well) would be for the high school students to receive some instruction on what exactly their roles in the partnership were. For example, in my partnership, the feedback I received on my first memoir draft was five or so mechanical error suggestions. The feedback on my second draft was along the lines of, “Wow, that was really great! I loved it!” While I won’t deny that I like positive feedback :), and I also realize it may seem intimidating for a high school student to give critical feedback on the writing of a college/graduate student, I think my partner at least could have benefited from more than my own modeling of how to provide useful positive feedback. Again, I obviously can’t say that students didn’t receive guidance in this direction, or if they did that they would have used it, but I think that was one weakness of the partnership from my point of view. I didn’t have unrealistic expectations (I don’t think!), but even a suggestion for “could you tell me more about this?” or “what do you mean by this?” would have been more helpful.
I had a positive experience with this partnership, and my partner has already emailed me telling me that I inspire her (what future teacher doesn’t love to hear that?!) and that she would like to continue the partnership, which I fully intend to do. I think it was a great project for me as a future teacher in gaining some insight into the secondary writing atmosphere as well as into the mind of a high school student, since I haven’t been in that role for over five years now. 🙂 I wish that our class met more than once a week because I think that the partnership would be stronger and easier to implement, but I also realize that there’s really no way to change that. Overall, it was definitely worth the effort!