Sunday, October 28, 2007

Two-Year College English Association (TYCA): Attending regional conferences

Two-Year College English Association (TYCA): Attending regional conferences

I'm also back from attending two TYCA regionals: TYCA Midwest in Chicago at the beginning of the month and TYCA Northeast in Philadelphia a week ago. They were both exciting and stimulating conferences with lots of energetic and interesting presentations.

But I attend all conferences now differently than I did in the past: as editor of TETYC I'm there in a role I can only describe as "talent scout." I arrive with a bunch of sample issues and a ton of my business cards, and then I try to "sign up" presenters to convert their presentations into article submissions to the journal.

And here's what I'm interested in hearing more about: I sense a reluctance to take the plunge and submit an article. Why? I know how busy two-year campus English faculty are, but these are folks who have carved out the spare hour before the sun comes up (or after the kids go down in the evening) and have created a conference presentation. One more step, and it's an article. So I don't think it's the time element.

At both conferences, I chaired panels called "How to Publish in TETYC (Or at least enhance your chances)." I borrowed a great panel idea that Sharon Mitchler created for last year's 4Cs when she, I, Greg Shafer (Michigan), and Alexis Nelson (Washington) spoke on the same subject. Not to bore you with the details, but Martine Courant Rife, in Chicago, and Barbara Morris, in Philadelphia, both on the panels as recent first-time authors in the journal, made the same point: they had submitted manuscripts in order to put themselves on the line, to experience the evaluation process just as their composition students were doing in their own writing classes. Both Martine and Barbara received feedback, revised, and ultimately published, but their message was that the experience paid off in their teaching. They could empathize anew with anxious students, and, better yet, they could share their own ups and downs as writers with their students.

That's what initially got me into submitting my own work --the desire to gain legitimacy in discussing writing with my classes. Sort of a "been there, done that" which I could share with them. And students do listen to those stories of anxiety and success and, yes, rejection. Martine and Barbara urged the participants at our sessions to give it a try. Sounds about right to me.

Jeff Sommers

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The New CCE Site

Join us at the new space!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Okay, So The Dog Ate The New Blog, and My Grandfather Died Repeatedly

Can I have an extension until next Saturday? I promise that the new CCE will be up and running. Honest.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Happy New Semester!

As the semester begins, CCE will be moving to a new platform--Typepad, to be exact--where contributors will still be able to contribute freely and at whim, and where readers will be able to browse comments left by other readers. New link categories include technology and intellectual property. We hope that past and current contributors will join us there, and that, perhaps, new contributors will post. As always, we're grateful to our readers for their continuing participation.

The new version will go up on January 28th. If you have any suggestions for links or blogs to be linked, why not post a reply below?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Happy Holidays

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Fun Finals Activity

Today, I tried out a new finals activity that may not be so new for some of you: we had a reading similar to what writers have when they are about to publish a book. I called it the "Winter Reading" for the class, and it included having students choose a short writing or a small part of a longer writing to read to the class. To make the mood more like a real writer reading, I brought some snacks, and I introduced each student with anecdotes from the semester and what not. This last part was my favorite as I have been thinking for some time about ways to say something personal and individual to students at the end of the semester, a practice that comes from a teaching mentor of mine who used to recite "nuggets" about our class during the final period. Students seemed to enjoy the activity, and the realistic treatment made it meaningful yet enjoyable, I think.

I only did the activity in developmental and first-level comp classes, though. For my second-level comp students, who have to write all source-supported papers, I'm thinking about having a mini-conference in lieu of a final in future semesters. That is another topic for another day, though--back to the papers.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Season of Old Saint Paint