If you believe that writing is a talent granted to only a select few, you will tend to focus your attention on the students you think are talented while paying minimal attention to the rest.
That’s a poor choice.
There are far more people who can become good writers through persistent practice of the right skills than there are talented writers who will become great.
If you can’t believe that every student who walks into your classroom can become a competent writer, you shouldn’t become a writing teacher.
Confidence in your students — not in them as they are, but in them as what can become — is an essential qualification for teaching writing.
I’d guess that at least three-quarters of students have no particular interest in writing and are willing to put out only a modest effort on most writing assignments. If you are willing to focus your writing instruction on this large group of students, you have a very good chance of making all students competent writers.
While it may not be as good for your ego to produce 100 competent writers a year for 20 years as to teach Suzanne Collins for one year, it’s probably far better for those 2,000 students and their eventual employers.
This snippet is drawn from chapter 17 “Q is for Qualifications” of The Writing Teacher’s ABCs, my sixth book on teaching writing.