Wednesday afternoon I was sitting in my office when Abby and Miguel from my last semester’s College Writing class burst in.
“We wanted to show you this,” they said, giving me a copy of Monday’s Daily Collegian. And there they were in a feature article about the Indi-folk duo called Commonwealth they have formed.
“Wow,” I said. In the article they talked about how after meeting in my section of College Writing they formed a duo—Miguel on guitar, Abby on violin, both on vocals.
“We want to play for you,” Miguel said as he unzipped his guitar case and Abby unpacked her violin. So they did. I sat at my table where I have student conferences and Miguel and Abby played three of their original songs. They were great! I was amazed! I was proud!
“Make sure you read the end,” Abby said. “We gave you a shout out.” I’m the English teacher they thank at the end.
I’ll admit it. I was pleased they thanked me. But, really, as their writing teacher, I had nothing to do with any of this. I can’t even take credit for their song writing ability because College Writing focuses on academic writing.
But this has made me realize something. I think as teachers we become so focused on getting through the curriculum that we forget that there is more than just writing happening in our classes. College is about being exposed to new things, meeting new people, trying things you may never have the courage or confidence to do. Since all our sections of College Writing are small and activity based, the students have the opportunity to engage with one another. Sometimes this leads to students developing friendships, sometimes this leads to students being exposed to another way of seeing things, sometimes it leads to the formation of a musical duo.
So although I can’t take credit for the beginning of Abby and Miguel’s musical career, I am pleased that they got to know one another in my class. And I am pleased that I have gotten to know them beyond the academic writing they did.
So I would like to return the favor and give Commonwealth a shout out. They are great! And if you hear about them performing on campus or somewhere in the Pioneer Valley, go see them! You won’t regret it!
And if you hear of an EP called “Other Words” and think it’s a coincidence that it’s the same name as our reader, it isn’t.