Category Archives: teaching

My Pecha Kucha Presentation

On June 23, I gave my first Pecha Kucha presentation at Knoxville Museum of Art. You may be wondering, “What is Pecha Kucha?” It sounds illegal. It sounds like it may cause disfigurement, or even death, without immediate medical attention. In reality, the term is Japanese and denotes the sound of conversation, similar to “chit […]

Sweepstakes and Giveaways — How to Create a Successful Contest

On May 27, the first ever Funny Fortune Cookie Sayings contest came into the world. The women cried for joy, and the men slapped each other on the back and smoked cigars. I announced the winner, one James T. Trimble, on July 1, and posted some of the best entries. James will be on the […]

How to Tell a Good Story

It Started with an Email I got an email from a close friend the other day who is mere days away from finishing the MBA program at Stanford. He was preparing a talk for one of his classes and wanted me to recommend books, articles, or blog posts about how to tell a good story. […]

Advice to Plagiarists

Back in 2006 I was teaching English at David Lipscomb High School, and my juniors were spending time in a special circle of purgatory known as “Research.” At eight to ten pages, these papers were the longest that most of them had ever attempted. The smaller assignments and grades leading up to the paper and […]

Thank your teachers

The English program at David Lipscomb High School was rigorous, to say the least. Miss Smith and Miss Tracey, my favorite and most demanding English teachers, were legends. Miss Tracey also taught Latin, and when it came time to conjugate a verb, she always chose “neco,” which means “to kill.” This was exactly what a […]

Tape Ball to the Face

One of the crowning achievements up to that point in my life was knocking a squirrel out of a tree with a rock. It fell off the branch, hit the ground, popped up without the slightest trace of embarassement, and ran right back up the tree.  Throwing one object at another seems to be hardwired […]

age, gravity, sun damage, and slower metabolism

While I was finishing up my master’s in English, I was working as a Teaching Associate. Two classes of First-Year Composition 101 made the mistake of registering for my class.  Poor children. None of them knew what to do with a teacher who knew their tricks better than they did themselves. I assured them that […]

Boobs on the screen

I was showing my Freshmen one of my favorite movies—Dead Poets Society—as an introduction to our unit on creative writing. During one of their meetings in the cave, one of the boys takes out a dirty magazine. I’m standing at the back of the class, engrossed in the movie, and then— Boobs on the screen. […]

Thanks, defective DNA!

Thanks to genes inherited from my mother’s side, I often get food caught in my throat. I have to eat slowly and chew consciously. My mom and grandfather have the same problem. Eventually, a doctor will run a scope down my throat and ask me why I waited so long to get surgery. “Well, because […]

Teaching Blunders #2: Rotisserie Chicken

In Republic, Plato penned a timeless aphorism describing human resourcefulness: Necessity is the mother of invention. This is especially true of hungry 23-year-old single men. I am what Shane Claiborne, in his thought-provoking book entitled Irresistible Revolution, calls a “freegan.” I will eat anything that is free. If you provide the food, they will come. Or, […]