reader and and avid writer, but he confessed in class to have little taste for grammar. That seems OK to me. Another student might be more reluctant about writing but enthusiastic about drama and language study, including grammar. That too is OK. It is important to allow ourselves these enthusiasms and to learn effective ways to teach the things that we merely accept. And can we assume that you are good at English? Here perhaps we might pause and ask what is meant by good. We might agree that English teachers should read and write well, but there is no fixed standard in this regard. And, as we have seen, most of us—like Steve—do not feel equally competent in every aspect of the discipline.
But how much you like English or how good you are at it is not the issue here. You do not have to justify anything. Tell us instead how you came to prefer English. What actually happened in your life? For Steve, the desire can be traced back to early childhood and to parents who supported his tastes and abilities, even as his brothers indulged other tastes. For Katie, another methods student, English “came alive” in sixth grade when a teacher asked her to write something that seemed interesting and then praised Katie's work. For Jennifer the process was different: It stemmed from her own struggles with family and academic problems in high school and the power of writing to help her deal with those issues. She hated high school (the opposite of the “continuation theme”), but, almost for that very reason, Jennifer wants to be a high school teacher.
Tell the story of why you are here—taking a course in the teaching of English. Begin wherever you wish, as early as you like, but end your narrative with your enrolling in this course.
Christenbury, Leila. Making the Journey: Being and Becoming a Teacher of English Language Arts. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, Heinemann, 1994. A very readable book aimed at the beginning English teacher. Christenbury uses narrative and a wealth of classroom examples to illustrate issues and strategies for the teaching of English.
Elbow, Peter. What Is English? New York/Urbana, IL: Modern Language Association/National Council of Teachers of English, 1990. Elbow was a participant in the English Coalition Conference in 1987, a meeting of teachers on all levels that explored core issues in the teaching of the language arts. Elbow's book describes those conversations, both in his own voice (the regular chapters) and in the voices of other participants (in interludes). A very readable book that addresses important issues.
English Journal. Periodically, English Journal devotes an issue to a particular aspect of teaching English. Note especially “The Newest Members of the Family” (February 1995), on the experiences of teachers new to the profession.
Flood, James, Julie M. Jensen, Diane Lapp, and James R. Squire, eds. Handbook of Research on Teaching the English Language Arts. Sponsored by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. New