This Week in College Writing

*Last night, as I prepared another quiz and for the umpteenth time planned to ask my students to demonstrate their knowledge of commonly confused words and pronoun/antecedent agreement, I found this article. It describes written communication as a make-or-break skill while job hunting, and reveals how large corporations are teaching their workers to write better, whether through internal means or external consulting firms. My reactions: (A) I MUST show this to my students; and (B) I MUST someday get a job at a large corporation that will pay me handsomely to teach employees commonly confused words and pronoun/antecedent agreement.

*I’m required to teach my students several patterns of developing essays. Unsurprisingly, I have at my fingertips a surplus of narrative essays and descriptive pieces. Though less frequent in literary nonfiction, comparison/contrast essays (like Natalia Ginzburg’s “He and I” and David Sedaris’s “Remembering My Childhood on the Continent of Africa”) splendidly serve a need. Over the weekend, I was searching for rich, lovely, stellar example of a classification essay. Not a list, but a list of categories. Scott Russell Sanders’s “The Men We Carry in Our Minds” works but I really wanted to find a second one. I opened my resources file, hoping for inspiration, and sure enough, I clicked on Sue William Silverman’s “The Meandering River,” which I often do. SO MANY AMAZING EXAMPLES OF NONFICTION. So I’m reading, and I’m reading, and I’m hoping one of the examples will work as a rich, lovely, stellar classification essay, and slowly, too slowly to admit without shame, it dawns on me that “The Meandering River” by Sue William Silverman is a rich, lovely, stellar example of a classification essay. It’s an essay about writing that serves as a great example of a certain mode of writing while bringing up all sorts of examples of great writing. TEACHER HEART EXPLOSION.