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noteA Teacher Notes: "Remembering 'Advanced Composition'"

In my first decade of teaching at the ALC, I taught a class titled "Advanced Composition" that met on Thursday evenings. In the class, I would introduce a grammar point or idea for writing. After a brief introduction, the class would write together, myself included. Using an early version of our projectors (the ALC had a projector in the 1990s, among the earliest adopters of the new technology thanks to our teacher L's enthusiasm), I would sit at a small desk facing the class. On the desk was a computer and monitor—state of the art cathode ray tube and probably an Intel Pentium processor!

Because I could face the class at a desk in the centre of the room, I was able to keyboard ideas and suggestions directly on to the screen behind me. Even now I miss the ease with which I could communicate with my classes while simultaneously keeping notes. I'm a pretty fast typist, so, by the end of a class, I would have copious notes, samples and ideas to share. These notes would include a "teacher writing sample" that students could take away with them. To print the notes, our school network provided a direct connection to the photocopier in our main classroom.

To give you a taste of this (first draft writing so expect imperfections), I reproduce one of the pieces I wrote in 2002, entitled "Lovely Vancouver Rain and Wind," which seems particularly appropriate given the weather these past few weeks! If you enjoy the writing, search our site for "teacher writing" and find more old pieces by yourself. Or, visit the Advanced Composition archive to see lessons that often include links to notes or sample paragraphs for your enjoyment.

Lovely Vancouver Rain and Wind

     Vancouver has a fine combination of rain and wind that I love dearly. Yes, love! When the skies darken as they have today, and the air feels soft and moist on my skin, I await the coming deluge with gleeful anticipation. Tonight, I'll hear the rain pound against the fragile plastic roof over my back deck and the whoosh of wind making my lilac's leaves sway and dance. That same wind will find its way through cracks in my window and I'll smell the sweetness in the air, even as I lie in bed, snug and cozy under my covers. In the morning, if it is still raining, I'll enjoy a blustery walk to get my copy of The Globe and Mail and feel the rain soaking me through my cotton trousers. After I put my money in the box, I'll tuck the paper away under my jacket, its reassuring bulk rubbing me under my arm, as I walk home through the dim downpour. Then, at breakfast, I'll read the news and listen to the sounds of the rain lashing my neighbour's patio. Ah yes, Vancouver's combination of windy, rainy days is one of its essential (and frequent) pleasures!

—Brad Hyde, 204 words, first draft on October 2, 2002 for the class, "Advanced Composition"

—March 7, 2016

More Notes:

Reflecting on End of Term
January 21, 2016

On Encountering Diversity
November 19, 2015

A Note on Pro D
October 27, 2015

My Recycling Origin Story
September 30, 2015

Comparing Cultures: A Tale of Two Cities
September 17, 2015

"Speak and Listen? Yes!"
September 10, 2015

 "Thoughts on an Extraordinary Summer"
—September 3, 2015