Responding to troubled students is not a new topic for creative writing
teachers. By the nature of the craft we teach as creative writing faculty,
we may see, at times, glimpses into the destructive (or self-destructive)
psyches of our students through their stories, poems, and plays.
You may be aware that colleges have seen a sharp increase in students who
arrive with psychological and psychiatric issues. According to the 2006
National College Health Assessment 43.8% of 94,806 students surveyed "felt
so depressed it was difficult to function," during the previous year and
9.3% had "seriously considered suicide" during the year. In addition, in a
landmark study of school shootings, the United States Secret Service
concluded in 2002, that more than one-third of school shooters "exhibited an
interest in violence in their own writings, such as poems, essays, or
While it is true that teachers at any level, and in any subject, might pick
up on troubling signals from a student, it is college teachers in creative
writing for whom the issue is pressing.
The following brief survey (click on the link below) presents an opportunity
for you as a creative writing teacher to respond to the question: The
Troubled Student and Creative Writing: What's a Teacher to Do?
I appreciate your response (responses can be anonymous) regarding this
sensitive but critical subject. Collected responses will be instrumental to
a forthcoming presentation and scholarship on this issue.
Thank you for your time and contribution.
Department of English
University of South Florida