Friday, September 9, 2011

In the Basement of the Ivory Tower: Confessions of an Accidental Academic by Professor X

Professor X wrote an article of the same name in The Atlantic back in June 2008. He has worked as an adjunct professor teaching English composition classes for ten years. He writes about his students, his thoughts on the college system, and if college is really necessary for everyone.

I really liked this book! I did teach writing (albeit writing for English as a Foreign Language students) for a year, and took the students through the process of writing a sentence, a paragraph, a five-paragraph essay, and finally, a research paper. It was tiring yet rewarding work....and maddening at times, so I appreciated what Professor X had to say about learning/teaching how to write. At times, the book was quite poignant, especially when he writes about how he gets to know the lives of his students through their writing.

I recommend you read this book if you have any interest in reading or writing, or if you've ever taught writing...or learned to write from a really good teacher.

"Over the years, I have come to think that the two most crucial ingredients in the mysterious mix that makes a good writer may be 1) having read enough throughout a lifetime to have internalized the rhythms of the written word, and 2) refining the ability to mimic those rhythms. It is very difficult to make up for gaps in a lifetime of reading and practice over the course of a fifteen-week semester." --Professor X

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