Young Women Power

I was just about to title this post “Girl Power” but thought otherwise, because the students I’m about to write about aren’t girls. They are smart, capable young women.

They are sass dragons.

I gave some of them this title after a few of them in my creative writing class…

Sass Dragons

These five…

…started to get…well…sassy.

Every day when I walk into that class, I greet everyone by calling them some silly name: “good morning, my little dew drops!” (or “pea pods” or “noodle necks”). I don’t know why I do this. It’s likely because I enjoy this class–my creative writing class this semester–so much and am excited to see them. Although, thinking through it now, I do this with all of my classes. If I’m being honest with myself, I am a geeky teacher and really like my job.

Anyway. One day, I’d greeted the creative writing students with some silliness or other, but the above-pictured five were being particularly…energetic, and I called them sass dragons.

This is a nickname I came up with in 2009 at my friend Sarah’s barbecue; Sarah, her friend Mika, and I were being silly and cheeky, and sass dragons just seemed to fit us. And when it came out of my mouth in class this semester, the students adopted it to describe themselves. And it’s pretty perfect.

My other class this semester–a cohort of students who have gone through the same series of classes together all year long–is also full of excellent young women. And although “full of” implies that there are a lot of them, there are really just two:

Me, my co-teacher, and our two amazing students

Me, my co-teacher, and our two amazing students

Because this year-long cohort is a pilot program, the enrollment was small to begin with–only about a dozen students. Now, after two semesters–eight classes and twenty-five credits–we’re down to a couple of students. The others have drifted away for any number of reasons, and what initially seemed stressful to me and my co-teacher–tailoring our classes for two students instead of twenty or thirty–was a real win.

With just two students, we’ve been able to get specific with our instruction and feedback. We can give them all of our attention and answer every question. The two young women have also become each others support and have gotten close, which is great to see. Plus, they’re pretty solid students and total sass dragons.

You might notice the odd little cupcakes we’re all holding in the picture. I teach students to analyze their rhetorical situation for each piece of writing by using the acronym POGAC (purpose, occasion, genre, audience, and context); and a POGAC is a little monster who loves to pogo-stick. Because…well, it just is, okay? Go with it.

For last year’s cohort, I made a POGAC cake:

Last year’s POGAC cake (just the monster head: no pogo-stick)

But this time, because we have such a small group, I did cupcakes:


My trial POGAC

A Blue Base

A Blue Base


Add some fangs

Add some fangs

Finished POGACs!

Finished POGACs!

And, really, the POGAC could also be a sass dragon; so it all fits nicely.

This is the last week of classes, and I will miss all of the sass dragons I’ve met this semester. I’ll see some of them in my Fall classes or around campus, and I know the rest of them will be out in the world, being fantastic, and that alone is enough.

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