Okay, so you're a little nervous about your essays. I get it. Stop freaking out. I'm not correcting them for a grade...yet. Or perhaps you're a Humanities student who is overwhelmed because you procrastinated. Procrastination will cause you problems in college, so you need to learn to better manage your time. Stop freaking out, you too. My schedule is available outside the English office for conferences (which are always recommended). Otherwise...
Here is an action plan for when you feel confused, panicked, or just "feel stupid":
1. E-mail me immediately at pattileemuratori@AOL.com or use "Contact Me," but if you use "Contact Me," do not forget to include your name and an accurate e-mail address, so that I can get back to you immediately.
2. If I am somehow unavailable ( I got hit by a truck or run over by a senior from Humanities), e-mail a friend from class. Maybe they were listening and taking notes when you checked out (just for a minute, of course) to daydream. Perhaps they can shed some light on what you think is confusing.
3. Review your daily objectives and class notes in your passbook and notebook. You may have written down directions that you have now forgotten because you're melting down.
4. Check the web site for any new postings under your class. I promised you that I would never give you an assignment without providing a rubric and directions. So if you don't have those, the assignment probably isn't due yet. Here is the link: http://www.newfairfieldschools.org/subsite/nfh/teacher/152
5. Check the class calendar. I keep it updated for all your vocab quizzes and reading/writing assignments. Perhaps knowing that you are not backed up against a wall for a grade will help you relax and think more clearly. This will not help if you've procrastinated. Sometimes we need to learn through failure. We'll do better next time, and there is ALWAYS a next time.
6. Schedule a writing conference immediately. There is nothing so helpful as working one-on-one with a teacher. You will find out what you did well, what you need to improve, and what you would get as a grade if you choose not to improve.
7. Breathe, calm down, and try to understand that melting down is just a feeling, not a reality. Ten to one we can "fix" your essay with a little work. That is what is real.
8. The only way you can really fail in my class is not to try. Since I know you all want to succeed (and your parents will probably kill you if you don't get a "good grade"), I will always give you a chance to improve. Just tell the truth, ask for help, and be open to working, growing, and learning, and you will be fine.
9. We learn most when we fail or make mistakes. Try to allow yourselves the opportunity to write the WORST essay ever for a rough draft. I won't grade it, and we can only improve from there. Learning is about growth. If you start "perfect," where is there to go? And why are your parents paying me a salary?
10. If all else fails and you're still in meltdown mode, go watch a funny movie, play with your pet, or write a new blonde joke. You'll feel better (and get a +2 on your next vocab quiz).
11. Try to remember that I want you to succeed in my class. That means that if you are straight with me, I will be straight with you. This also means don't copy another student's work. When you copy, you learn nothing. And I can smell copying just as sure as you can smell vanilla cupcakes in my room. Copying= cheating. Cheating= 0 + a phone call home.