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Dear students, where have you gone?

Letter to the Editor

On March 28, 2013


An Open Letter to Students Who No Longer Attend My College Writing Class:

When I read the Staff Editorial "Instructors should engage students in learning," I thought of you, dear Dozens of Students Who No Longer Attend My College Writing Class and my heart broke.

I wondered once again where you are and why you broke off our engagement.

What happened, my darling? Was it something I did, something I said? I think back to the day we met, the day I handed out a syllabus and proposed to you. I felt so nervous, yet also so exhilarated and hopeful. I was sure you felt the same way.

Then when you attended class the second day, I was overjoyed because I thought you had accepted my proposal.

I so badly wanted us to be engaged that I asked you to share your ideas with a classmate and then, oh bliss, with me! . . . Is that where I went wrong? Was I too eager? Too forward?

Or did you just get tired? Maybe you thought there was nothing I could teach you-and no wonder, given how smart and talented you are, and how much I have yet to learn.

But, my dear, surely we could have taught each other, reaching together heights of critical thinking impossible to achieve alone.

I tried to rekindle the early excitement by playing a video I thought you'd like, inviting a guest speaker, arranging elaborate group activities, even playing your favorite song in class.

But you weren't there. So I e-mailed you. I called. I submitted your name to a retention specialist. You did not reply.

Now I'm begging, my love: please give our engagement another chance. It may be too late for this semester, but I'll be waiting in the fall.

Sondra Smith Gates

Instructor of English

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