Mid-September 2013. My afternoon English 1101 class prepares to write their second essay of the semester. (Students’ identifying details have been changed.)
ME: All right—in the Week 8 folder online, you’ll see some good, A-plus sample essays from former students.
STUDENT 1: Can we see some bad essays?
STUDENT 2: Why not?
ME: Because I want y’all to do well on Essay 2. I want you to follow what the successful essays are doing.
ME: I’m serious. We learn by studying strong examples—by watching people who are good at what we want to do. [turning to Student 3, a football player] What position do you play?
STUDENT 3: Defensive end.
ME: Perfect! [turning to class] Think about it this way: I can show you how to tackle, or [Student 3] can show you how to tackle. Whose example is going to be better?
CLASS: [Student 3]’s example.
ME: Right! Because [Student 3] knows what he’s doing, and has for a long time. He plays college football. I don’t know anything about football. Why follow my tackle demonstration? I’d be terrible at it.
STUDENT 3: Aww, don’t say that, Professor. I bet you’d make a good free safety.
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