teachers writing genres

Paper 2: Writing for Your Career

In this second unit, we’ll be looking at the type of writing you can expect in your profession. How will writing and communication be a part of your future, and which skills do you need to learn?

In 1,200 to 1,400 words, you’ll tell me about three genres you’ll be writing in when you head into your profession (and if you aren’t sure what you want to be doing after college, that’s ok: maybe scout around for a dream job or a general entry-level position that’ll pay the bills). You’ll also be analyzing these examples to figure out what you need to know when writing them. You’ll also be interviewing someone in that field to find out what they write about, what they wish they’d learned, and specificities of each genre. 

Questions to consider:

  • What kind of exigency, audience awareness, and persuasive skills are needed for each genre?
  • What coursework can you apply, or what do you need from your classes?
  • Which writing identity is required for each genre? 
  • Which word choices, rhetorical moves, and organizational techniques will you need?

Objectives

This assignment will show you how to:

  • Consider writing in a workplace.
  • Analyze rhetorical choices.
  • Write an effective thesis.
  • Use topic sentences to make your paragraphs more cohesive.
  • Revise your paper and avoid wordiness.
  • Give and receive feedback.

Why this Project Matters

This paper will build on the skills you learned in the last paper and help you improve in the areas you noted in your letter of reflection. In addition to seeing which writing skills you’ll need in the workplace, you’ll also be able to identify your own strengths and areas for improvement. You’ll also see which audiences you’ll be writing to and how you can tailor your exigency, identity, and audience to each genre.  

Finally, you’ll become more adept at sticking to a topic in each paragraph, which helps you form your thoughts and deepen them at the same time and helps your audience understand what you’re saying. In addition, by giving feedback, you’ll learn how to look at your own writing with a more critical eye and others’ and see how you can improve. 

Getting Started

  1. Find three different genres and an example of each of the type of writing you might be doing in the workplace. These can be found via the Knowledge Center’s database, by talking to someone in your profession or a professor, or by searching online. Examples of these genres might be emails, memos, policy documents, instructions, flyers, reports, presentations, sales documents, or letters.
  2. Find someone in the profession you can interview in the next two weeks. We’ll brainstorm interview questions in class. 

Format

  1. 1,200-1,400 words, double spaced, Times New Roman 12-pt. font, one-inch margins all around. 
  2. An introduction that reflects the topic. The thesis will be at the end of the introduction.
  3. Your thesis will be an overall statement of how prepared you are to write in these three genres/in your profession. This thesis must be proven in the paper and must be one sentence at the end of the introduction.
  4. You will devote a section to each genre. In each section, you will introduce a genre and discuss the following:
  5. The audience: How do you know who they are? Which words show you this? What kind of background information does the audience need?
  6. What this writing “looks like”: examples can include but are not limited to the following. What kind of language does the author use and why? For example, are the sentences longer or shorter? Are more sophisticated words used instead of more simplistic language or the other way around? Which words has each author chosen? What does the audience need to know? Why?  
  7. Which types of rhetorical moves does the author make? What are they really saying?
  8. What have you learned about this type of writing? Which skills do you already have? Which ones do you need?
  9. Your interview can be a separate section, but some of what your interviewee said might be more effective if found throughout the paper.
  10. A conclusion that says more than “In conclusion, here’s my introduction.”
  11. Your genre examples need to be footnoted. You can use APA, CMS, or MLA: use the one that this field uses. If you’re in business, which format do those classes usually ask you to follow? 

Grading Rubric

You will be graded on the following:

  • An audience-appropriate voice.
  • Following all formatting instructions.
  • A thesis that is proven and located at the end of the introduction.
  • An introduction and conclusion that work together. Both will draw in the reader and will stick to the paper’s overall topic.
  • Content that is thoroughly proofread and thoughtful. It should have undergone multiple drafts and revision.
  • Effective paragraph transitions.
  • A thoughtful interview that adds relevant content. Quotes are only used when needed and explained.
  • Topic sentences that introduce each paragraph and paragraphs that stick to their topic.
  • Careful word choice.

Need to meet the following criteria:

Your paper explains and analyzes three genres. Relevant examples are included, described, and analyzed.

Your thesis is one sentence at the end of your introduction and has a how or why. It is proven in the essay.

You describe each genre in a way that makes us “see” it and with a level of specificity. You also make it make sense to a person not in that field.

You’ve incorporated Dreyer’s tips and used them when appropriate.

You have followed the word list and avoided “fluff.” Your paper shows it underwent multiple drafts and that you looked at each sentence. You might have a couple of mistakes, but that’s ok: most of us do.

You have thoroughly proofread the paper, which has undergone multiple drafts and revision. Errors are fairly minimal.

Each paragraph is introduced by a topic sentence–and each paragraph sticks to that topic. Each topic sentence supports the thesis.

Paper is: 1,000 words, double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12-pt. font, has one-inch margins all around. Your name and section number are not included.

You chose an interview subject who was able to give you a realistic idea of writing in the profession you chose. You asked questions that encouraged more detail than “yes” or “no” and gave you material to focus on and expand upon.

Interview questions and answers

Questions for a preschool teacher with a HDFS perspective.

Q: Is there anything that you wish you had known as a first-year teacher?

A: To follow what I feel is right when working with kids. I remember when I first started working with kids, I was talking to the babies about what was going on (“I am going to change your diaper, you have pee in your diaper”), but I was the only one talking to the babies like this. I was embarrassed because no one else was talking to the babies like I was. It made me want to talk to them less, so I would not be embarrassed. As I progressed in the field, I realized I was doing exactly what everyone else should have been doing. My lesson was I should always be someone who lifts others up, rather than bring them down. If I model best practices for others, they will know to follow best practices as well.

Q: How do you get the parents involved in the classroom plan?

A: I posted a curriculum calendar and asked parents what they wanted to join in on. If I were teaching about a theme that they could provide information on (such as inviting a police officer parent to read a book while we learned about community helpers) I would encourage parents to come in and share. Also, I would send out surveys to families to ask how they celebrate holidays and such and I would incorporate their traditions into the theme (if a family traveled by train during the holidays, I would provide a suitcase and other items in dramatic play for our holiday dramatic play center).

Q: Is there a type of teaching that you feel works the best for this age group?

A: I think children learn best utilizing a variety of teaching methods. Providing a consistent daily schedule helps children to understand what is to come next. Providing visuals helps children understand expectations. When we set a picture daily schedule, we can show the children a picture of what we are doing, and what is to come next (first, then). We can teach problem solving skills through pictures of problem-solving choices (take turns, ask a teacher for help, etc.…) Giving auditory reminders pairs well with music and picture schedules, “In five more minutes, we will clean up to go outside. In two more minutes, we will clean up to go outside.” Children learn through play and hands on, kinesthetic learning seems to have the biggest influence. Teaching about letters you can have alphabet soup in dramatic play, wiki sticks for fine motor exploration or a tray with salt and the feel of the salt when forming letters with a finger. Also, creating scripted stories or social stories helps children relate to a topic. When you provide pictures of the child you are working with, it becomes more meaningful.

Q: What is your favorite type of preschool to teach and why? (Montessori, Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, High Scope, Bank Street, Parent Co-ops or religious)

A: I like a little of each. I love the outdoor/indoor philosophy of Waldorf, the activities provided in Montessori and the natural world of Reggio Emilia. In most preschools I have worked in, the High Scope philosophy seems to fit into preschool programs the best-interest based centers and teacher facilitation to build language and support social emotional learning.

Q: What type of profession writing do you do for the school?

A: I send out newsletters to families, collaborate with early intervention teams by documenting and writing goals to support IEP’s and IFSP’s, write welcome letters for each classroom, document curriculum guidelines and expectations, I write emails to families, write job descriptions, create employee action plans, write employee evaluations, post job advertisements and many other miscellaneous tasks.

Q: What would you consider to be the most difficult part of being a preschool teacher?

A: Balancing proper care (including diaper changes, lesson planning, parent communication, facilitating play and activities, etc.…) for many children throughout the day.

Q: What is the best advice you have been given about teaching?

A: Be in control of your own emotions before reacting. For example, having a key phrase to use when you need time to cool down, such as, “I’m not ready for you to try that activity right now, I’ll let you know when I’m ready for you to try that again.”

Q: What is your approach to classroom management?

A: Proactive planning! Management is about being ready to meet the needs of students in your care. Have materials ready to go to avoid wait time. Have towels available to clean up a messy activity. Have minimal transitions and minimal wait times. Follow a consistent daily schedule. Proactively communicate with families. Provide hands on facilitation of play. Arrange classroom to minimize crowding and provide for safe flow.

Q: Do you have a favorite teaching “success story” or an accomplishment that fills you with pride since you have been a teacher?

A: I love when a child has testing behaviors. It provides me with joy to be able to plan activities that meet the child’s needs and I love communicating positively with a family when you come up with a plan that helps the child and family.

Q: Do you write your own classroom curriculum?

A: Yes.

Q: What tone do you use when you are updating the school app to notify the parents?

A: I think it’s always better to err on the side of professionalism. I find out what is important to a family and make sure to always provide customized feedback, from my own voice.  Professional, own voice, impersonal…

Q: What population does your school or center serve?

A: We provide care to children between the ages of six weeks through six years. We typically serve children in the neighborhood; however, we provide care for the children who are supported through subsidy (low SES). We take Children’s Cabinet subsidy, Inter-Tribal Council Subsidy and military subsidy Child Care Aware.

Q: What type of schooling/preparation did you complete for this career?

A: I have my B.S. in HDFS

Q: Why do you think high quality childcare is important for young children?

A: Early childhood educators provide nurturing support for children during the most critical time in brain development (between 0-3 years of age). High quality care is crucial for a healthy social/emotional/cognitive development.

Q: What are some key attributes of your school that make it high quality?

A: We participate in QRIS (Quality Rating and Improvement System) which is a program grant funded through the Department of Education and it is designed to raise the quality level of care in early childhood programs. We implement developmental assessments and plan and implement developmentally appropriate curriculum. We provide scholarships for teachers to continue educations, so we have educated staff working with the children.

Q: How would you define developmentally appropriate practice?

A: Thinking about the individual child, the classroom and the community when planning curriculum. Utilizing assessment to meet developmental goals. Planning activities that meet the needs of each child.

Q: What are some examples of developmentally appropriate practice in your classroom? A. Providing activities that support different levels of ability. Talking about, providing materials, and incorporating traditions that support different cultures represented in the classroom.

Q: How has COVID-19 affected your school or center?

A: Our faces are covered, and we have to rely on our tone of voice more than ever to help guide child development. We cannot participate in group sensory, so we plan for individual sensory activities. We don’t have dress up items or soft blankets or doll clothes. We take family temperatures upon arrival. We went from 150 students, down to about 35 students and now back up to about 140 students over the last year. We explain more about our cleaning rituals to families that are new to our program.

Q: Are you comfortable following the current limitations that the CDC have implemented?

A: Yes, but wearing a mask is inconvenient and I can’t wait until we don’t have to wear them anymore. Also, we’ve never had anyone come in with a fever in the last year. Taking temperatures seems like a moot point.

Q: What are the new protocols and procedures that centers will be following now in the classroom?

A: Cleaning toys more often and having less materials available. No sensory bin dress up/soft items. Temperature checks and family sign-ins.

Q: Has COVID restriction effected quality childcare?

A: Minimally (wearing a mask covers our faces and some children look at mouths as they learn language)

Q: Do you consider childcare to be accessible?

A: Somewhat. It is expensive and we don’t have enough childcare in our community.

Q: Do you consider childcare to be affordable?

A: No. At $220-$264 per week, many parents work full time to afford bills and child-care with little else left over.

Q: Do you think childcare receives the support that is should from the federal, state, and/or local government?

A: No. There is a huge gap in childcare subsidy. You must be in extreme poverty to qualify for subsidy. Subsidy is also on a waitlist right now, to qualify, it must be a foster care situation, or a CPS referral.

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