I confess: Sometimes, when I am pressed for time, I assign the students a reading without reading it myself first. I just choose something that seems like it would be good to discuss. It’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall. It gives me 15% naughty thrill, 85% guilty anxiety.
Next semester, next year, after the revolution, I promise myself, I will stop doing this.
This afternoon, however, I’m reading the essay I assigned on Thursday, and trying to figure out something edifying to say about it tomorrow.
The essay came from the Best American Non-Required Reading series—something that will prove, I think, to be a good source of readings for freshman comp, since they’re interesting, often funny, and well-written but not at an unattainably high level. The book is practically put together with reluctant readers in mind.