Repeatedly finding the repetition of the word "fun" minus any explanations, elaborations, and/or exemplifications in my English 111 student papers, I had no choice but to deduce that activities these young adults find "fun" may well be the same activities a forty-something, such as myself, finds "fun." Thus, some time spent making cards for the purpose of thanking others, a cherished pastime of mine, was in store for our next class together. At the very least, perhaps after a class spent creating cards, students may think twice about choosing the familiar "fun," and, instead elevate their writing with more mature vocabulary choices.
Instead of the anticipated moans and groans of disdain, what I found were more than willing participants for this card-making workshop. Young men and women alike cared for the appearance of their cards by making use of the stickers, colored Sharpies, and paper puncher while their words were chosen with care and creativity. Although a majority of cards were sent to the tutors at the Writing Center on campus, students were given autonomy over whom they would like to thank.
In truth, the results far exceeded my expectations. Reviewing the cards for revisions, I could not help but smile at the depth of their thoughtfulness and sincerity. A child of the original Star Wars era, a former high school English teacher, and a devoted fan of The Hunger Games trilogy, the letter below resulted in a rash of goosebumps on my skin:
I’m writing to you today to thank you for teaching me the ways of the Force, also known as English. Your teaching abilities have influenced me greatly, and I could not have asked for a better teacher. Though we had our differences at first, butting heads like a pair of male goats fighting for the position of alpha, you have brought me so far, not only maturing as a writer, but as a young lady as well. If it were not for you, I would not know what a well written paper should consist of, nor would I know how to go about writing it. Again I thank you for being the best influence a scrawny high school student could ask for.
Best wishes, and “May the odds be ever in your favor,”
So, have some "fun" today and every day by sending a thank you to an unsuspecting someone. You will be thankful you did.
by Courtney Winkler