Final Letter Guidelines
The idea behind the final letter is to show a context for the class. The point of teaching in a portfolio style is that I, the instructor, am able to evaluate you, the student, based on your process as a young writer, not on the final products that you produce. Here is your chance to explain your process and effort to me, before I grade your work.
The letter should answer some or all of the following questions:
1) What was your attitude about writing before you entered this class?
2) How were these ideas about writing listed above, challenged or affirmed in this course? What challenged them? What was your favorite discussion?
3) What was your writing process like during the course? What did you feel was your biggest achievement? How did you grow as a writer?
4) How would you evaluate your “level of engagement” in the course? How intellectually engaged were you with the readings we read, the workshops, and finally, your own work?
5) How did the readings impact your own sense of creative writing? What were your favorite pieces? What were the pieces that most affected you, challenged you, made you see another way of thinking? What pieces did you struggle with the most, and how did you respond to that friction?
The best final analysis letters are the ones that vividly show me your process as a writer, using specific texts, making specific reference to moments in the class or moments in your writing, referring to and even quoting your own work and the work of others. In other words, specificity is the key. Don’t write this letter in general terms, saying that “this was good,” or “I didn’t understand this. . .” Dig deep into your experience. Ask questions, and try valiantly to answer them.