Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why You Shouldn't Allow a Student to Suggest "Cancer" For the Free-Write

Because obviously she has a story to tell. And that story will make her cry when she's reading it out loud. And it will make the other students cry.

And the teacher.

Yes, the BABYDADDY of my student has cancer. He's 27 years old and it's terminal.

Listening to her read the story out loud makes it extremely hard to move on to parts of speech or sentence fragments.

What's a community college teacher to do?

Silence bombards the room.

Finally, a student in the front raises her hand and volunteers to read her free-write. She has cancer, too. But she's a survivor. It's a happy story, and we all applaud.

Never in my life have I been so relieved to know that someone else has cancer...I mean, has survived cancer. Now I can move on to sentence fragments and forget--for the moment--that our lives, how little we know and share with one another--are fragmented.


won said...

I applaud her courage and openness in sharing, even though it was difficult to hear.

ReformingGeek said...

I can't imagine what it would be like to be that ill at age 27.

But I think it's a bit sad that "Baby Daddy" is a mainstream term these days.

Cat said...

I'm glad I wasn't there because all she'd have to say is the words "daddy" & "cancer," and I'd be crying, and when I cry it isn't a delicate little sniffle. No, it's all red face, puffy eyes and snot leaking from the nose.

Jason said...

This is a great site you have here. I just found it from a friend's page. I have a humor blog as well and I'd like to exchange links with you. This will spread some traffic around between us. Let me know if this is cool.

HilariousHeadlines TALK

sage said...

Cancer always causes sentence fragments-it's the nature of the beast that leaves lives and sentences unfinished. Hang in there, for yourself and for your students.

A Free Man said...

I'm a softy when it comes to marking students. Any kind of sob story and their mark goes up about 5%. Cancer would easily get them 10 - 15.

Kaylia said...

Meg you gave me chills!

mrsmouthy said...

Wow. The cool thing is, everyone in your class EXPERIENCED something real that night (or day?) and you made it possible. That's power.

Belinda said...

In a few sentences, you capture so much feeling!