All posts by Sean Shannon

Screw You, Emptor

House Democrats Grill Betsy DeVos Over Denying Student Borrower Relief (NPR) Today is the start of Finals Week here, and as has been the case throughout my teaching career, I wound up spending most of the past week trying to coach my students, most of whom are in their first semester of college, through the challenges of this difficult time. Even as someone who enjoyed the academic side of my college experience more than most, I remember all too well the unique stresses that those…

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Bouquet: B, O …

The Rough Draft Diaries with Haley Taylor: “Violins Under the Bed” (wgte.org) There was a popular tweet a few weeks ago about how school spelling bees are traumatic because so many of us can remember when, and how, we got eliminated from them even decades after they happened. I shared my own story from a fifth grade spelling bee almost thirty-five years earlier, when the word I got was “bouquet,” I had the letters lined up in my head the way they should have been,…

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I Can Afford to Hoard Now

Part of my job as an English teacher is to stay current on developments in the language, from Oxford comma debates to ever-changing citation styles. Keeping track of all the “loan words” that seep into English from other languages is a small part of that work, but it’s one of the more enjoyable things I get to do, if only because it helps me learn more about other cultures. It also provides an ongoing example of how languages change over time, and aren’t the static…

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Holiday Pain

As wonderful as Mom was, she wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. She made chili every few weeks, and I never did like it, to the point where I wound up staying away from vegetarian chili recipes for most of my life. After I got here to Wisconsin, though, I knew that I needed to start making good warm-me-up meals I could take to campus with me for lunch and heat up in the microwave, so I bit the bullet and tried making…

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Decimating Design

I’m part of the generation that grew up on the first wave of cyberpunk, from movies like Blade Runner and television shows like Max Headroom, to countless books and graphic novels. There’s a lot to be said about how this work may have influenced our attitudes and philosophies, but one of the things that always caught my eye, probably because I was so young, was the visual motif of television/computer screens everywhere. The idea of being able to walk someplace and literally be unable to…

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