Archive for the 'Teaching' Category

Separate and unequal

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Is it OK to like one of your classes better than the other? This is pretty typical for me. I often have one class that participates eagerly and another that sits there like lumps every day. The same lesson plan will get the first class enthusiastically buzzing and then fall flat in the other. I […]

Bad Grade Snake

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

While I was grading this afternoon, Dan identified a new, harmless (to the teacher, anyway) species of snake that had infested our apartment: Bad Grade Snake. The Bad Grade Snake slithers around the grading teacher, hissing “Fffff… Fffffff….”  “What’s that, Bad Grade Snake? The student used triple-space to make her paper meet the page minimum?” […]

Supermodels and the mortgage crisis

Monday, March 10th, 2008

As Dan and I have taken to watching the Nightly News, we’ve seen quite a lot lately about the rising rate of foreclosures and the mortgage crisis. Even after such prolonged exposure to the trauma that families are facing, no longer able to afford their homes, I remain hardhearted to any kind of bailout. I […]

Framing the debate

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

Tomorrow in class, I’ll be talking to my students about framing the debate — how to control your reader’s reaction by selecting words, choosing which pieces of evidence to present, etc. I was looking this evening at the website for the Greater Houston Partnership, which is sponsoring presidential debates before the Texas primaries on March […]

News flash

Monday, January 14th, 2008

I have to figure out how to tell my students this semester about my pregnancy. It seemed a bit much to bring it up on the first day today: “Hi, I’ll be teaching you this semester, and also, in about six months, well after our semester is over, I’ll be having a baby.” On the […]

Students are funny, redux

Friday, July 6th, 2007

Just as last year, and once again this is of course unrelated to my reading of the AP English Language exams, I’ve collected some gems of student writing. These were all in response to a prompt about advertising — is it good or bad? what are its effects on society? — and accompanying sources that […]


Friday, March 23rd, 2007

I got my teaching evaluations from last semester back today (yes, it takes the department about 3 months to compile the information). They yielded what is my favorite student comment to date. On the question “How could the instructor improve the course?” I got the comment: “Maybe wear a blazer once in awhile.” I’m up […]

No Secretary Left Behind

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

I’m sorry, but I got a huge kick out of watching Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings get trounced up, down, backwards and forwards on Celebrity Jeopardy! yesterday by the actor Michael McKean. (I’ll refrain from Hollywood vs. Bush administration jokes.) McKean ended the game with the highest total of any of the celebrity contestants so […]

Students are funny

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Completely unrelated to the previous post, I have some gems of student work to share: “William Hazlitt is a tricky, tricky man.” “Jesus would not approve of William Hazlitt.” “It’s almost as if Hazlitt is trying to say that one cannot get on well in the world without money.” — in reponse to the William […]

AP English Language

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

For those that don’t already know, I was in Daytona grading AP English Language exams during the week of the 12th, which was a lot of fun. I met some excellent teachers, who taught me to look at my composition classes differently. Reading what the high schoolers wrote in answer to the prompts made me […]