One of the things we don’t talk about enough when it comes to writing is who we are really writing for. When I assign my students an essay rarely do I tell them who their intended audience should be, and I’m not so sure that when we are discussing academic writing we have ever truly clarified that. Often times I hear teachers tell students to write as if their classmates are their audience, but then their classmates rarely actually read the essay. Sometimes we make up an audience and tell them to pretend they are writing to congress or some such thing. This sounds great in theory, but then, when we read the essay as the teacher, do we truly view it through the lens of a congressman? If not, then really their audience is the teacher.
This got me to thinking about who I write this for. I never had an intended audience in mind; I was just looking to clarify my own thoughts and put it out there. I guess I assumed only other educators would be interested in what I have to say, but I know there are non-educators who read this as well.
Recently some of my students have found this blog since they seem to enjoy googling my name rather than writing their essays when we go to the computer lab. In fact, we are going later today, so Hi Tommie, Zack, Matt, James, and Michael, and anyone else in my class who stumbles upon this. I’m not sure how I feel about this. On one hand there is something almost embarrassing about having my students read and critique/tease me in class about my writing. Especially when I want them working on something else.
On the other hand, there are some nice benefits too. I like that they get to see that I write from time to time. We ask students to write all the time, but we ourselves don’t do it nearly enough. They can see my style, my voice, and my flaws as a writer. Ultimately I think this is a good thing. They also have too much fun picking apart my writing, but there are valuable skills inherent in that. One of my students found an egregious error in parallel structure in one of my posts. Since I taught them parallel structure, there is a sense of pride in knowing that he can identify it outside of a worksheet-even if it is in my own writing.
So to go back to the original purpose here: who do I write for? I still don’t know if I have a good answer for that. This started as a self reflective practice, but it’s developed beyond that some. I like that I have colleagues who read this; I like that that I have non-educators who read this; and I think that I like that I have students who have read this.