Randon Billings Noble: I am a bird when I write

Noble reflects on being a writer in the writing classroom @ The Millions. Sixty pairs of eyes follow me for four months. Then another 60, for another four. Then — at last — summer, when I am free from those staring eyes, the eyes half closed by sleep, even the eyes that are illuminated with… Read more »

Delaney Nolan: I was a Teenage Arsonist

Nolan reflects on the fires we wish to set and some we can’t @ The Rumpus. My school was on fire. It was exhilarating. Fire trucks were whipping their sirens around, and my whole high school was out on the football field, chattering excitedly, whispering in little groups, because we were missing class, and oh… Read more »

Heal McKnight on The Hard Part of Community College

McKnight recounts one student’s struggle beyond the classroom @ Brevity. He rarely did homework on time, but really, the assignments weren’t that great—predictable questions about essays in the textbook, the usual Becoming Someone or Discovering Your Voice. Still, he wrote beautifully. He always apologized for the state of his papers, telling me first that time… Read more »

We work in these places. We sew clothes.

Debbie Nathan on the collision of history, immigration, and language learning @ Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood.In the spring of 1980 I was a cocky new teacher of English as a Second language, fresh from education grad school, with innovative pedagogy that I couldn’t wait to try out on students. My first job in New York was… Read more »

My own unasked-for notion of freedom

David McConnell recounts his time teaching in prison @ Granta. My cynical, chain-smoking superior had one of those ruined faces that many over-qualified teachers end up with. A lifelong backlog of unimparted knowledge must corrode the flesh. He seemed glad to present me with at least one morsel of wisdom: ‘The inmates and the COs in… Read more »