I think I had both of them in class in Winter 2009. For the final exam in my writing classes, the students were asked to read an essay and then write a summary & response paper on that essay.
Two classes received a Joe Wenderoth essay to read, about the unflinching humanity on display in a townie strip club the author has frequented. Two classes received a David Sedaris essay, "This Old House."
Both were pulled from the Best American Essays 2008 anthology . . . and I tried to pick essays that were engaging as well as carrying a fairly approachable thesis/purpose.
However, one student took that Wenderoth essay and wrote a response that floored me. I love it. I might have read it with my mouth hanging open.
The other student was in a Sedaris class, but the humor, intelligence and drive of this student astounds me.
This is why I teach community college--I have the tiniest part in sending phenomenal minds into the world, ones that are taking a nontraditional route, but who teach me reciprocally as I teach them.
I LOVE teaching some days, and some days I just love being continually, intellectually challenged by educationally hungry, ridiculously unique, endlessly fascinating people.
I'm just glad all of it happens at the same place, and that I earn a paycheck for it.
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