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Five Memoirs that Guys in their Twenties Should Read

Stories That Help Make Sense of the Big Questions

I work on a regular basis with people between the ages of 17 and 25. As a community college English teacher, I am tasked with helping students write the 5-paragraph essay, find credible sources online and write clearly. I walk into work every day hoping to help students enjoy writing rather than viewing it as a soul-sucking chore. However, . . .

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June 04, 2017

Writing Poetry is About Being Aware of When to Write

And Less About Knowing How to Write Something That Rhymes

I started regularly writing poems in 2009 after two friends asked me to help them write song lyrics. My friends Zack, Marcus and I were sitting around a campfire late one night in the mountains. Zach was holding a guitar and Marcus was playing a banjo. Zack said “Nate, you were an English major. Do you think you teach us how to write song . . .

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May 17, 2017

10 Wendell Berry Quotes

Small-town Americans needs to know what Wendell Berry is saying

Anyone who lives in a small town should read at least one Wendell Berry essay. He’s got something to say about the “health” (a word he uses a lot) of small-town and rural existence. What is its future? Will it continue to exist? What is lost when both urban spaces and small towns become suburbs?

However, it seems to me that practically nobody . . .

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May 14, 2017

Millennials: Addicted to the iPhone but Wanting to Know How to Live Without It

Are Millennials really in love with technology?

About 3-4 years ago my dad told me that some of guys who worked at his auto shop were so distracted by their IPhones that it was affecting their productivity. The "tire guys," who put new tires on cars and do the oil changes, were the ones he was concerned about. As a high schooler, I was a tire guy every summer, where, like NASCAR . . .

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January 21, 2017

The Materialistic Pathway Prevents Some from Believing the American Dream

How do we imagine the American Dream?

Every semester I ask my students to define the American Dream. In classroom discussion I ask them to name multiple characteristics of the American Dream. Next I push them to come to a consensus about 3-4 core characteristics that define this concept. Some of the most common characteristics named are social mobility, financial security, . . .

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December 28, 2016

Two Questions About Pride: The Difference Between “Good pride”/ “Bad Pride” and How to Avoid Becoming an Arrogant/Prideful Person

Defining and Preventing Pride

1. What is the difference between "good pride" and "bad pride?"

Every semester I put a list of the seven deadly sins on a PowerPoint slide before my freshman English class. I ask my class to write a 300 word response to this question: "of the seven deadly sins, which threatens America the most in 2016?" Students . . .

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December 10, 2016

Distraction is No Excuse for Millennial Adults

Four Tips to Help the Untrained Brain

As a college English teacher, I often hear students flippantly self-identify as being easily distracted. My students speak as if this is unusual and inevitable. It seems as if they’ve been taught that a distracted brain cannot be cured, outside of ADHD medication.

Being a 33-year-old American adult who is easily distracted, I consider some of . . .

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November 08, 2016