Life Lessons (and Lesson Plans)

As of June 19th of this year, I am no longer a teacher. I have been a professional educator for seven and half years. Now I have no classroom and no current contract. And this isn’t just a matter of summer vacation either; I have no job to go back to in the fall, and … Continue reading Life Lessons (and Lesson Plans)

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Back to School Interview: Dianna T.

For back-to-school week on Magnificent Nose, we’ll be featuring interviews with teachers and other education professionals. Dianna T. teaches at a bilingual school in New York City. She is fluent in both French and English, but because she is a native speaker of English she's expected not to speak French with the children. She quickly … Continue reading Back to School Interview: Dianna T.

Getting Trustworthy Input

During my university years, a writing instructor made certain to drive home the point that it's extremely important to find someone you trust to read your work. Luckily for me, I married that person. Kimmy is not one to shy away from a harsh critique. After finishing a novel shortly after college, I printed it … Continue reading Getting Trustworthy Input

English Major Confessions: Reading

I sat crouched over Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, so enveloped by the story that I could hear the sounds of the jungle. The story became real and visceral to me, so much so that to this day I'm still haunted by the images I read. I was in sixth grade and back then it took only … Continue reading English Major Confessions: Reading

Swearing in the Classroom

Ji-eon approached me while I stood at the lectern. She sheepishly grabbed a  black dry erase marker and wrote “sheet” followed by the word “shit.” Her cheeks flushed in embarrassment. “How to say?” she asked. I showed her the vowel sounds and had her mimic them back to me. The i in kid or lift … Continue reading Swearing in the Classroom

English Major Confessions: Grammar Nazi

"Oh shit, don't judge me if I don't talk good," she said. We were at a party and had just met. I don't remember her name, but I remember she said it. "Well," I said. "If I don't talk well." I didn't want to let her down. A lot of people have said some variation … Continue reading English Major Confessions: Grammar Nazi

Alas, Chocolate Funeral

We worked in our university's commissary, regularly skinning fifty pounds of potatoes and slicing eighty pounds of onions and doing all sorts of extremely mundane tasks. She was Russian and very serious and never took a liking to my feeble attempts at making our job slightly more enjoyable. She was not impressed by my singing … Continue reading Alas, Chocolate Funeral

Let Them Read Books

It’s a hot summer, and here in Korea, air conditioning is difficult to come by. I’ve got a small apartment, but my window unit can barely cool the living room. That means my kitchen and bedroom feel similar to what I can only imagine are the bowels of Satan after chili cook-off season. Because of … Continue reading Let Them Read Books

So What?

Twice a week during my junior year in college, our class would get into groups of three or four and workshop our latest personal essay. Before this, I'd never considered nonfiction to be a creative art. I mean, how entertaining can a story be if you've never done anything exciting? Nonfiction was a retelling of … Continue reading So What?

Just Seventy More Pages

Sarah and Charlie sat opposite my wife and me at a Starbucks in Seomyeon, a sort of downtown district in the heart of Busan. We’d only just met. When they learned that I was an English major, Sarah said, I’d love to know what kinds of books you read! Here’s the sad truth: I’ve spent … Continue reading Just Seventy More Pages