Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Embrace the feedback

This morning I sent my Chronicle article to my high school composition teacher. To give you some background, we had been out of touch for years, and then I was given an award by my alumni association, and remembered Mrs. Capone as being the most important teacher in my high school years, in terms of teaching me how to write. So I contacted Mrs. Capone to thank her for her influence. We exchanged a few emails and that was that. And then this morning I sent her my article.

She wrote back, said that she enjoyed the article, and commented on two grammatical aspects of my writing that I should consider! Feedback from my high school comp teacher! Her note brought an immediate smile to my face. For the record, one of her comments is something I need to consider. The other regards an rule that I occasionally break on purpose... and I think I know enough to do so (though she may disagree).

This all got me thinking about the value of feedback. When we are in the thick of things, writing and submitting papers, and getting feedback... we sometimes hope for little criticism, instead yearning for the "A" and lots of positive remarks. However Mrs. Capone's note this morning reminded me that the critical feedback is what makes us better writers. The "A's" feel good, but the criticism has a more far-reaching and important impact.

Embrace the feedback.

All the best,

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