Nobody Listens

The last months have cast me into many varieties of stress and time-crunchedness, and whenever I do have free time near a keyboard, there is always non-blog writing that needs to be tackled. I miss blog writing. Lately, I’ve put seven minutes per week towards a long-suffering blog post, which basically means I get half […]

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Celebrate the Student

This week, I start my 25th year of teaching college English. The brain, she boggles. Brain has been along for the entire ride–since the first day my clammy hands pushed open the door of a classroom on the University of Idaho campus. Clutching a stack of fresh-off-the-ditto-machine, purple-inked syllabi to my chest, protecting my carefully dot-matrix-printed Instructions […]

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Perhaps a Late Paper Isn’t the Worst of Her Problems. She Also Thinks It’s a Heron That Drops Off Babies.

Her eyes filled with tears as I spoke. “Yup, you will lose twenty points on your essay if you submit it today. The policy is that you lose ten points for each day that it’s late, and since today is Wednesday, and the paper was due Monday, that’s what you’re dealing with.” I stood in […]

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Resonance

I bet your’re a book reader. That is: like attracts like, and I am a book reader, and you are here. So we are readers, yes? I’ll go even further and guess that, because love of reading is innate in us–or because we learned it as a joyful or comforting habit in childhood–we are well […]

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I Wish I Had Enough Money

Raising my voice above the clamor, I called out, “Okay, you can start your ten minutes of freewriting NOW.” Even in my rowdy, chaotic, feral-children-come-to-college afternoon class, that command settled them down. Heads bent over notebooks, and fingers tapped away on keyboards. For the next ten minutes, the usual cacophony calmed down, and they focused on […]

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End O’ Semester and Dontists

The end of the semester always lands with a crash–a head-snapping bump at the very least–and never moreso than when final exam week is topped off with a root canal. As I sat in the endodontist’s office this past Friday morning, nervously fidgeting in the exam room, one of the office workers decided to come […]

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The Twelve-Inch Scar

  Five years ago, on January 17th, I made one of my students vomit. I hadn’t even assigned “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” either. Rather than yacking up her lunch as a reaction to Coleridge’s opium-induced writings, she barfed out of affection and empathy. See, this student came from a background so sketchy, so […]

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Paging Ms. Chandelier…Mr. Crystal Chandelier. Your Prescription Is Ready

There is a host of traditional names slapped onto mewling, unsuspecting babies in the United States when they’re born: William, Emily, Alex, Susan, Mary. And we’ve all seen and heard those more creative names–some of which have cultural or familial connotations–such as Shaniqua or Anders. But then there’s a whole other class of names out […]

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The Student

“The Student” What I love the most about teaching at a community college, which is what I do, is that the education we offer provides under-prepared students with a new type of focus and motivation. We also provide cheaper credits to students who don’t want to undertake lifetime student-loan-repayment programs. Because we’re accessible and low […]

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