First Year English (Barnard)

Aug 2005

Mr. Sage was one of the best professors I had in my first year at Barnard. At first, however, I did not feel this way. I can understand some of the negative reviews of his discussion-leading skills. He does call on people (usually those who do not talk much) and puts them on the spot, but I do not agree that he ignores those who raise their hands. He doesn't "ignore" them, the oppionated people in my class certainly got to express their views, and it IS his job as the discussion leader to try to encourage everyone to participate. Furthermore, I believe this method really forces students to stay on top of the reading b/c you never know when you could be called upon. I do agree that he seems to sort of brush your opinion aside if he doesn't agree or he just doesn't get it (the other reviewers' descriptions of the ways in which he does this are accruate), but, he more than makes up for this in his genuine interest in helping his students to become better writers. I found the way in which he wanted to see my papers written to be rather annoying at first "but what is your claim?" he'd always ask. And he always wanted students to consider the opposing arguments in their papers. It is true that he didn't follow the standard 5-paragraph format (intro, body, conclusion) that you learned in middle-school, but you're not in middle-school anymore, you're in college. Although it was difficult to discard that safety-blanket, I came to realize that Sage's method is an excellent way of writing a strong paper. Sage teaches you have to make an actual argument, rather than simply using big words and poetic, sophisticated sentences to describe the obvious. The other great thing about Sage is that he makes himself available and is more than willing to work with you on your papers. He will read your final drafts on the day they are due and give you feedback so that you can make them better. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS. Sage really wants to help you write the best paper you can.