Grading Essay II – Part I

27 Sep

The Gas We Pass

So far in grading the second round of essays, I’m pleasantly surprised by how creative many of you have been in your topic choices.  Many of your essays have made me laugh aloud, making the people sitting around me wonder what in the world could be so entertaining about student essays. If they only knew what you were writing about, they would understand. So far, the most entertaining essay has been one about dancing on a chair in the student cafeteria. I nearly peed my pants. Ok, not really. I have much more bladder control than that.  I have also very much enjoyed an essay about a blind date – I swear I thought I was on one myself when reading it, and there was another essay about going to the beach alone to which I could really relate, although I have gone to the beach alone many times, and as the student noted, it is a very serene experience, especially the drive home with the wind in your face and the sun continuing to burn your skin even in the shade of the vehicle.

Some students forgot our discussion of publicly passing gas, and thus, they forgot the need to “decenter” and relate the described experience as something part of a larger set of common experience within our society. In those essays, I’ve been reminding students of the need to develop an overarching idea for their essays – something larger than the routine experience of daily life for the individual. This making of experience as a communal event is key to pulling analysis out of the details we include in our essays.  I know for many of you this feels like stating the obvious, but once you get into the habit of providing these explanations, you will see your writing transform. It’s usually in retrospect that the light goes off.

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