I Love My Students! I Love Literature!

I tutored a student today who is having trouble in one of my English classes. Her mom insisted on paying me, even though I originally had not intended to charge anything.

Sure, it's nice to have a few extra dollars ... but there is just no substitute for the joy I get from helping a student to gain a richer understanding of literature. That is the honest truth--not just me trying to sound sappy.

We read through "The Cask of Amontillado," by Edgar Allan Poe. I've probably read that story 30 or 40 times in my lifetime. Yet, as my student read aloud and I thought about the words and we discussed each paragraph, I gained new insights and thought to myself, "You dork! That would have been such a great thing to share with the class!"

Only thing is, they had their test Friday and we're moving on to Jack London's "To Build a Fire" on Monday.

Yay! I love "To Build a Fire"! I'm going to have them share their personal "outdoor adventure stories" on Monday. Maybe I'll share my own "To Cross (or not) a Stream during a Flash Flood." Here's an exerpt for your reading pleasure:


I stepped onto a rock in the creek. So far, so good. I took another step ... the next moment, I was rushing down the creek, going under, coming back up, and going under again. As I gasped for breath, I knew my chances for survival were low if I didn't catch hold of a branch, soon. I let go of my tent so I could have both arms free, and I grabbed with all my might at a thick tree root. It held! The pack was weighing me down, and I couldn't get it off my shoulders. I had forgotten to undo the sternum strap, a realization that had actually hit me as I'd begun flying down the river. I hauled myself out of the water, pack and all, thankful to be alive.

Moments later, I realized that I no longer had a tent. One tent stake remained in my pocket. And my glasses were somewhere in the creek.

I took a deep breath. My trip was over, and I knew that. But I had more pressing concerns than that. It was getting darker, colder, and the wind was kicking up. The weather channel's website had forecast temperatures in the 30s and rain all night long. I was soaking wet, and so was my pack. I had no shelter. If I didn't do something soon, hypothermia would become a real threat.

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