Monday, April 5, 2010

Student Excuses and Flair

I receive some fantastic excuses about why students miss class. Usually these involve recovering. (Cancun recovery, Birthday party recovery, first day of Spring recovery).

I have an unusual teaching philosophy. I value flair, so if you’re going to miss class, you might as well do it with flair. This means I want the true story, rich with sensory detail. And by all means, use a semicolon somewhere.

Today’s flair moment arrived in the form of an email in which a student describes the scene of his car breaking down: anti-freeze spilling everywhere, profuse smoke, a behemoth truck! (all his wording). I wasn’t mad; I was proud.

I have ten classes left to teach 50 students how to write with flair. Today I reminded them of the romance of the semicolon, the whisper of the parentheses, the shout of the dash. I talked about flavor and tone. Writing with flair means I turn each sentence into a masterpiece.

Living with flair means I turn my life into a masterpiece. It means I find some flair even in my highway breakdowns. Besides, the world needs more true stories of why we aren’t where we’re supposed to be. There’s a story there, ripe with flair, that makes what’s important not what event we missed, but what experience we had while we were trying to get there.


Chad said...
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ChadandRachel said...

Heather, my dear, I love all your posts; I especially loved (note the semicolon) reading this one aloud to Chad! You are the essence of flair. When I mentally line up my dear friends, there you are glistening with flair and cheering me up every time. Thanks. Love ya