No, Virginia, there is no extra credit.

Ah, the glamorous life of an English teacher.

On deck this week are the first exams for my ESL developmental writing students. These are the students who have placed just below college-level writing because English is not their native language and they need just a little bit of catching up. Because an entrance exam placed them in this course, they need to take an exit exam to pass on to freshman composition.

This week, I will be giving the first exit exam to my two sections of this course. If they pass, they can register for English 101 in the Spring. If they don’t pass this week, they’ll have one more chance during finals week, which runs up to December 23rd for us this year. Continue reading

Just five more minutes, Mom.

I’m not a morning person. I make no bones about it, either. I don’t snap out of bed as soon as the alarm rings. Instead, I hit the snooze button repeatedly until I can no longer fool myself into thinking that it’s not actually morning yet.

I don’t transition well from slumber to activity. Continue reading


The days have grown cooler finally, and the leaves are slowly beginning their colorful descent to a still-sodden ground. It’s been a relatively tame autumn this year. Hillsides that often burst with shades of orange, red, yellow, green, and even purple are now blanketed only with muted hues of yellow and green, an occasional spot of red, and some pockets of no color at all where leaves have already fallen. It’s a faded glory to be sure, but when bright, delicate morning light streams through the trees, it’s beautiful enough that one must take pause. Continue reading