Author Archives: admin

Excited about the Mystery

She (a student last week) asked if I was starting to feel sad. “Not really,” I said, then wondered if I sounded too calloused. But I’m not calloused, just experienced. I’ve been saying goodbye to students for over 20 years. … Continue reading

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Dream Job

It was this time of year, 17 years ago. I sat in a small room on the second floor of the CUB at a table filled with members of Amarillo College’s English Department. Most of them have long since left … Continue reading

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She Bought My Dinner: 19 class days left

When I asked the waiter for my ticket, he pointed to an empty table and said they had paid my tab. That’s a first. A student bought me dinner. Anonymously. Wasn’t sure how to respond. Should I send her a … Continue reading

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Fear of the Undone: 20 more class days

It’s what has made me anxious and panicked the last couple of weeks and what has prevented many routine pleasures, including writing this blog. But no more. Today, I realized that simply because time soon will run out for me … Continue reading

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First Teachers

Teaching teachers—it’s what I thought about doing 20 years ago while finishing Ph.D. studies. If I teach 100 students to write, I reasoned, I will influence 100, but, if I teach 100 graduate students who will one day teach writing—you … Continue reading

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A New Dream

Not because of the things I’m doing now—but because of the things I’m not doing— It’s why I’ve decided to retire. Yesterday, Charlotte and I called old friends we haven’t seen in 20 years. There were stories, familiar laughs and … Continue reading

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Helping Students Want to Write

How do you get students to want to write? Because I was a writer before I became a teacher, the question wasn’t hard. I knew what inspired me, and it certainly wasn’t money or fame. Not that I’m opposed to … Continue reading

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The Want-to Part of Writing

I help students with the want-to part of writing. It’s not something I learned in school. Schools focus on the have-to’s. You have to take this class to graduate. You have to fill X number of pages to make an … Continue reading

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The Power of We

This morning I watched students edit one another’s essays. Their expressions said it all. The occasional smile and/or nod told me the pedagogy was working. I have students read and comment on each other’s writing because . . . Positive … Continue reading

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Messy First Drafts

“Messy first drafts,” I tell my students, “are not only common for professional writers, but necessary.” Because, as Professor Furnish used to tell us grad students, “90% of all good writing is revised writing.” And, of course, one can’t revise … Continue reading

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