Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I just finished grading the narrative essays in one of my sections, and the lowest grade was a B-. I don't inflate grades (at least those who review my grading say I don't), so out of 24 essays it seems really strange to have 9 A, 9 A-minus, 4 B-plus, 2 B, and 1 B-minus. But I went back over them again and I didn't disagree with myself. My other class had 1 A, 7 A-minus, 4 B-plus, 2 B, 1 B-minus, 1 C-plus, 1 C.

Bless the narrative essay, right? I guess everyone believed me when I said "you can all tell a story, so just go do it." Some are really good. One just cracks me up when I think back to various phrases in it (and it's good), others make me sad, others make me chuckle.

Something I encountered this time around was that several students, across both sections, asked "how long is too long?" The essay guidelines say 1000-1200 words, but I'm certainly not going to mark someone down for writing 1800 words (as long as it's not filler/extraneous stuff). Indeed, I would say the average word count for these essays was 1300 words.

One fellow asked if he could write fiction and I said sure, since I wouldn't know if the stories were true anyway. He came back with a 2800 word coming-of-age-in-medieval-times short story!

Who are all these creative kids, and what did they do with the disgruntled/"I hate English" youth of today?