Monday, August 24, 2020

No more chalk dust on the suit

Today I notified Sara Magee, chair of the Communication Department at Loyola University Maryland, that I am giving up the editing class I have taught for twenty-five years.

 I will turn seventy in February, and the pleasure of yelling at undergraduates no longer compensates fully for the effort.


On the first day of class every semester, my efforts to Mirandize the students (see the video here) included this quotation from a student evaluation: “He is a horrible teacher. DO NOT TAKE HIM! The course is interesting but this guy is a stiff who thinks he knows it all. You will leave this class so confused and end up with a grade that definitely deserves to be better than what you actually get. Don't get me wrong, he's a funny guy but not worth it.”


Some of my more than 750 students, though, have managed rather well. Among them:

Kevin Atticks, one of my early victims, teaches at Loyola, overseeing the Apprentice House student publishing operation.


Mike Memoli, who as a member of Tribune’s Washington bureau was, to my knowledge, the only one of my former students to have flown on Air Force One with the president of the United States, is now a correspondent at NBC news.


Jon Meoli is a sports reporter at The Baltimore Sun.

Peter Blair heads the flexible editing desk at The New York Times


Eve Strilacci is an acquisitions editor at Callisto Media.


Christina Santucci is a former night photo editor at the New York Post.


Andrew Zaleski, to be found at, is building a solid career as a freelance writer.


Jenn Ladd is a food writer at The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Katie Krzaczck is an editor at Business Insider.


Lindsay VanAsdalan is a reporter at the York Dispatch.


Anyone I have overlooked is welcome to weigh in with a comment.


In time, I came to leave them on the last day of class with Chaucer’s rueful line, “The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.”


Now it will be someone else’s job.