Also today in the department meeting I took a whole lot of grief about this blog. Michael, my teaching buddy and diehard soccer fan, told me I rate everything here as nines and tens. I guess he's right but when I'm reading something and it's terrible I usually don't bother finishing it. I can't exactly review a half-finished story so I'm left with the good stuff. And if I'm trying to recommend some writing for teachers, I want to recommend good writing. So here's another excellent essay...
The Dead Book by Jane Churchon
This essay by Jane Churchon details what it is like for a nurse to pronounce someone dead. Churchon is a nursing supervisor and brings that to the table in the essay. She presents death in a matter-of-fact way for the most part, although her veneer cracks every once in awhile and the audience can see how much she cares about not just the patient, but the process as well. The "dead book" is actually a large binder where the nurses keep track of the dead. The essay reads light but stays with the reader for some time after.
Essay: 9 of 10
The opening line captures me, "I like to take my time when I pronounce someone dead." With that statement, Churchon brings the reader into her world. She talks about what it is like for both the medical staff and the patient when the patient dies. Hint: It's both surreal and incredibly real at the same time. The tone throughout the essay stays kind of distant, although there are moments that the events happening in the essay rise up and slap the reader across the face with their starkness.
Teachability: 10 of 10
High school students are immortal and nothing can stop them. Until something does. This essay will. Death is a high power topic and how it is presented here (like the most natural thing ever) will surprise a student. They see death as it is portrayed in movies and television and video games and it's not natural. This is. These people Churchon writes about could be their mother or father or even them. There is power here.