English & EAL

What teachers look for in VCE English students

Lisa Tran

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Go ahead and tilt your mobile the right way (portrait). The kool kids don't use landscape...

When Lisa suggested that I blog about what teachers want in their students my immediate response was “Don’t we all want the same things!” We want our students to exhibit the insight and dedication that signals a top class learner. Additionally, it is obvious that teachers want students who are interested in the subject. Interested students make interesting lessons.

However, in my pondering on this question I have realised that for me students who are willing to engage with the text and commit to the task are always preferable.

Especially in English your teachers are looking for your willingness to explore your own ideas rather than rehash what others think. Your fresh perspective is welcome in a world where it’s all been said before… (and again!)

Another thing I like to find in a student is a unique style. There’s something sincere and credible about writing that speaks with its own distinct timbre, its individual structure and its authentic voice. This is the sort of writing that has you wanting to read on rather than doggedly plodding along to the end wishing that they had stuck to the lower word limit.

I can be a touch (*ahem*) pedantic and traditional in my views. I mean I love a page that is neatly written in a legible well-formed hand. There’s no chance of missing your meaning when your teacher can see what you’re saying. And something I instil in my students if they have not come to me already equipped with it is the ability to write on alternate lines only – I need a place to comment. You need a place to edit and this layout guards against sensory overload for your marker. Being willing to pay attention to apparently trivial details like this is the difference between a good student and a top student.

This was written by a past VCE teacher who wishes to remain anonymous. Thank you for your expert advice ‘VF’!

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