“It’s a real privilege to have talented friends”

Back in spring of 2015, I was looking for fresh material to bring into my composition classroom, and I happened to have a batch of students who were itching to break out of the essay rut and write in response to some literature. So I shared some widely-anthologized essays and some interesting editorials from major newspapers, but … More “It’s a real privilege to have talented friends”


When I form small workshop groups in my writing classes, I like to introduce the new groups to each other by playing a game. What we play varies from term to term — years ago, I blogged about playing Taboo with students, and recently I’ve introduced the new Word Dominoes game my wife got me as a … More Balderdash!

My mother, my teacher

I just learned that my mother, a retired teacher with a 35-year career in elementary and middle-school classrooms, was a guest on Episode 14 of The Teaching Experience Podcast!   In the interview, my mom talks about her lifelong love of teaching and learning, her devotion to teaching each student according to the context of that student’s … More My mother, my teacher

On teaching writing, and teaching, and writing

I know a few teaching writers — a lot, if I’m honest — who have often bemoaned their composition courses. They understand the necessity of composition courses and don’t mind teaching them from time to time, but (these writers sometimes confess to me) they would much rather be teaching advanced literature or creative writing. I don’t blame them. … More On teaching writing, and teaching, and writing

AWP Minneapolis wrap-up: my students respond

Back from Minneapolis less than 24 hours and I was in my classroom, rearranging the tables and spreading out all my books, magazines, brochures, business cards, submission flyers, notebooks, pens, fake tattoos, noisemakers, and buttons, creating my own miniature bookfair for my students. And yes, I let them take a lot of what I brought back (but not my … More AWP Minneapolis wrap-up: my students respond

“Be the best literary citizen you can be.”

J.C. Sevcik has written a response to “the Insensitive, Shit-Stirring Rant” (his words) by Ryan Boudinot a week and a half ago. Which, you know, big deal — a lot of us wrote responses. But Sevcik’s is interesting because it appears in the same publication, The Stranger, that published Boudinot’s offensive listicle ten days ago (and followed … More “Be the best literary citizen you can be.”