My account of today's class begins with a series of exhortations (disguised as critique, encouragement, boots in the ass, cajoling, general commentary, assignment, or other pedagogical imperative) to raise the stakes for their writing. People get executed for their words,
I remind them. Make yours matter.
I invite my students to reflect on the first 2-3 weeks of the class. Is your writing getting enough attention of the right kind?
No, says the woman on my left, whom I respect from a previous class. I thank her and mumble something, I forget which came first.
Throughout this portion of the class--preceding the exchange and performance in pairs of each other's scripts--I sustain the desperate hope that the odd single word, the odder the better, maybe two or three of them together, gets through.
I don't think I'd mention any of this if I didn't think the class experience was useful for these young writers. A few bruised egos, maybe, but when is that a bad thing?