Creative Writing teacher finds personal narratives unneeded in course curriculum

Gail Goebel, Creative Writing teacher. She plans on removing the personal narrative from her course. Photo by Parker Feraco.

Personal narratives, although important to learn, are taught more than enough at both the middle and high school level, according to Sophomore English and Creative Writing teacher Gail Goebel.

“Everyone seems to do it a good amount already,” Goebel said.

According to Goebel, many English classes, both in the middle and high schools, already teach the personal narrative, to the point where it almost seems redundant to include it in her own class.

This isn’t to say that personal narratives aren’t important to teach at the high school level; Goebel does think that they refine students’ writing skills and teach them how to think and write about themselves in a deep way.

“I think that, like any other piece of writing, it can’t hurt to practice it and to really hone that skill,” Goebel said.

Personal narratives are also a huge part of many college applications and scholarship essays, so having a proficiency in them can increase students’ chances of getting into (and being able to afford) the colleges of their dreams.

“They help you stand out among all the college applicants,” Goebel said.

However, in college, other types of essays are far more common than personal narratives. Depending on the class, a wide variety of essays may be required, sometimes including personal narratives, but, according to Goebel, personal narratives aren’t nearly as common as others. Argumentative essays, in particular, she saw in most classes. Personal narratives, on the other hand, were relatively rare, even though they’re included in most English classes in high school.

“I don’t believe I really saw much of that happening at the college level,” Goebel said.

Generally, the personal narrative may be important, but, according to Goebel, it just seemed unnecessary to include in her class. Although she still has to check with other members of the GLHS staff, and it’s too late to remove the personal narrative from this trimester’s Creative Writing class, she said that she intends to ultimately replace personal narratives with something a bit more relevant.

“I felt like, for Creative Writing, it would be nice to have a piece that isn’t something [the students] do so frequently,” Goebel said.


Madeline Koneska

My name is Maddie Koneska, and I’m a senior at Gull Lake High School. As an amateur author, I have a vested interest in writing of all sorts, and, although I generally prefer fiction, I also love to write about real-life events. I enjoy writing most types of articles, especially reviews, personality profiles, and opinion pieces. I eat dry cereal with only my tongue like some sort of Yoshi barbarian. I hope that being a part of the school newspaper will help me develop my own writing skills and be more informed and involved in the community -- and perhaps even prepare me to pursue a degree in English, journalism, or both.

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