College Essays

Write a college entrance essay. You will design the essay yourself, based loosely around one of these two questions: What has made you who you are? What do you care most deeply about? College Essay assignment 2015 I’m in the library today, getting in the squats demanded by the pregnancy gurus as I bounce up…

Independent

I run to the Independent Living classroom from the Bible class where I’ve spent first period giving a test to sophomores. The room feels full, even though there are only the normal number of students, because everyone is running in frenzied circles trying to get ready for today’s final cooking project, the Tea Party. I am here…

Walking Towards Waterfalls

The trail turns steeply upward once we’ve left the road. We’ve been walking along a creek in Lenk, Switzerland for a while, carefully skirting the edges of the path to avoid marring the smooth grooves of the langlauf, or cross-county skiing tracks. Now, the signs take us off the wide, flat track, into deep snow…

Professionally Curious

I’m walking in circles these days, dizzy spirals around the library under the rounded hangar ceiling of our school. Once in a while I’ll pause by a computer and a student, stopping to give advice or ask a question, but most often its a leisurely drift, digital eavesdropping on the eleventh-graders as they start their research…

The Learn’d Astronomer

When I heard the learn’d astronomer, When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me, When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them, When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick, Till…

Rewrites

“So, what’s up with this paper?” my students ask, wafting in from the hall and settling in their desks with a nonchalance only possible after lunch, when a free afternoon beckons and “we can only handle school if it’s relaxed” is the motto of the hour. Don’t ask too much of us; it’s sixth period….

Leaving The Woods

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand… Our life is like a German Confederacy, made up of petty states, with its boundary forever fluctuating, so that even a German cannot tell you how it is bounded at any moment.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden…

On Time

Time, the brunt of many metaphors. Time is money. Time is a father or a ghoul. Time flies and crawls, always when you’d rather he doesn’t. School began today at Black Forest Academy, with the same flag-bearing pageantry that’s brought tears to my eyes for each of the last four years. This time, my fifth, was…

Chapters {76 Blue Hats}

Today is Commencement Day. After a hectic morning of pinning and adjusting mortarboards, searching for missing tassels, and ushering nervous graduates in to the earworm notes of “Pomp and Circumstance,” we watched as our 76 seniors, the Class of 2014, managed the many words and steps required to graduate from Black Forest Academy. They shook hands…

Better, Stronger, More Realistic and Complicated

As my first period takes the first final of Exam Week, I’m reading news updates from Seattle, where a gunman recently opened fire on the campus of my alma mater, Seattle Pacific University. Yesterday, I read this letter to my students, promising that while the general discontent of American Literature is an honest response to…