One of the more popular prompts for last week’s essay concerned poetry and prose and how they relate to Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It had been a popular topic in class, and my kids ran with it. Excerpts from the essays begin here.

“Poetry is easier to understand,” says one of my classmates. “Poetry makes you feel what the candidate is saying and how he feels,” says another. Poetry has more emotion and more feeling, but is it good enough to get our country where we need to go? …

I believe our government should be run by prose rather than by poetry. We need a leader, not a fellow citizen. We need someone who can show us right from wrong. Prose is always more important to have because you will always get done what needs to be done. Prose!

Oh, youth.

Another student describes how well these poetic or prosaic strategies work for their candidates.

Both Obama and Clinton have been doing a good job because both are close in delegates, so you know that they have been using their strategies well. Both strategies got the job done. …

If they continue on their speeches, there is no telling on who will win. Barack is making a strong appearance when he comes to speeches and might overtake Clinton, but Clinton is coming right back with what they want to hear.

I have a student who always talks or sleeps in the corner. Thing is, she surprised me with her own relatively well-done response. She even takes on the former Democratic governor of New York quoted in my prompt.

I disagree with Mario Cuomo. Candidates can have both during elections. They can also be both when one of them is the president. One must take courage and be tough. …

Both candidates [Clinton and Obama] are very equal. The thing that matters is that we trust in the candidates. They can speak however they want, but when it comes to solving problems, they must be serious.

Considering that she hadn’t seemed to much care for the subject or its teacher, and considering that she was sure she failed at the time, she was remarkably insightful.

Moral of the story? Keep expectations high, or your students won’t have something to rise to.

If you haven’t already, check out Part 1.


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