"If it wasn't for Art, I wouldn't go to school."
A high school student submitted that as his essay on his standardized college entrance test. The writing prompt asked him to argue either for sports or arts funding for schools. That's his essay in its entirety. All one sentence of it.
I like it.
He actually received a score of 2 out of 6. He addressed the topic (more or less), took a position (more or less), and it was legible.
Some tutor cohorts and I were discussing essays on standardized tests and how to discern between those who just don't have the smarts and those who are "bright non-conformists".
I say I like the essay because, as a test prep teacher and tutor I've read many essays that have droned on and on in shameful attempts to kiss essay grader butt. This one-sentence wonder actually showed more passion than many of those.
I say I like it, but if he were a student of mine, I would have to try to coach him to write what the test makers want him to write. That's just the way it is if the aim is to get a good score on the test.
I probably wouldn't have him as a student though, because I suspect that he may in fact be a "bright non-conformist". I've had bright students and I've had non-conformist students, but never bright non-conformist students. I think that's because bright non-conformists know that they don't need tutors.
Admittedly, much of my waking life is spent conforming or trying to get others to conform. I didn't really even realize this until I did the life coach thing. Much of my tutoring is to help people do well on standardized tests. In addition, I'm a freaking crossing guard!
One of the things my coach and I discussed was "Where is all this artwork coming from?!" I honestly did not know during my pre-coach ennui. I guess it was just an outlet for the non-conformist side of my brain - my way of, literally, coloring outside the lines. I still need the other side though. I wouldn't be satisfied in submitting a one-sentence essay.
Sometimes I wonder about Mr. One-Sentence. Where is he today?
Starving or the next Steve Jobs?