Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Brain Farts...

Here it is, nearly 11pm on a Wednesday, and I haven't stopped working since I got home, somewhere around 4pm.  I left the college late because I spent extra time in my English class, going over thesis statements for the first paper. 

Tomorrow, after a meeting in the chair's office, I need to go to the bookstore.  They always manage to call me with a frantic request to come in when I'm swamped.  And the manager who calls me with these frantic requests always uses the sucker line, "Since you've stopped working full time, we just can't find anyone to replace you."  This time, he told me that they'd recently hired four people, but they still can't get the work done.  My response?  "You're not hiring the right people."

So, I'll spend four hours trying to "fix" what can't be fixed, come home exhausted from heavy lifting, sit down and do the same thing I've been doing for a month.  I'm reading final copies of essays I've read twice, marking what I marked in the first two drafts because my students aren't paying attention, or maybe they just don't think they need to make the changes I suggest.  The grades on these essays are lower than those from previous semesters.  I've made up my mind that this won't be a walk in the park for my students.  Employers demand good writers.  I'm not going to pass people who can't do the work.  

I want my students to succeed; but I don't do them any service by giving them high marks for work that wouldn't pass muster in any business environment.  I wonder if they realize that any boss in any company would doubt a person's competence if that person handed him/her some of the stuff I get.

I'm adamant that the reason many students can't write is because they don't read.  Watching/listening to TV can't make up for that.  If the actors in these shows would put the punctuation in their lines, maybe that would help.  Could you imagine this: "Jim comma did you locate the murder weapon question mark" "No comma June comma I haven apostrophe t yet period"  I still don't think that would help.

Another problem is that many students don't think about what they write--maybe it's unfamiliar to them in that context.  When we write, we have to pay attention.  We can't just run at the pen the way we run at the mouth.  If we say something nonsensical, people usually don't call us on it.  If we write nonsensical things, and someone is paying attention and thinking, we're not going to get away with it. 

My frustration rises, especially when I've pointed out mistakes and provided methods to correct them, and students ignore my suggestions.  I'm not being difficult; I'm trying to help them succeed and impress the people who can help them with their careers.

I talked to a colleague the other day who was practically banging her head on the bathroom wall because her students didn't understand that they had to produce a perfect resume.  They couldn't understand how a comma made a difference.  I told her to find a willing HR director at some desirable company and ask that person to read the resumes and pass judgment.  Who would he/she hire?  My colleague liked that idea.  I think that would impress upon her students the difference a comma can make.


Jeriel H said...

Hello Mrs. Smith. I have kept my blog from class. I have written a few blogs since class but I wanted to let you know you can check my blog from time to time. I will do the same! I am glad you are okay and I will try to visit you one day if I can ever get their during the day lol! God bless!

Sherry said...

I think that would be a cool idea for the other proffesor to do. Commas are hard. It is funny that we don't know how to use them. I know that my English teachers in high school, especially my junior year, focused most of the time on grammar and punctuations.

dotsmom said...


That surprsies me. Most of my students tell me that they haven't studied grammar since grammar school! Ha! That came out funny.

Hi, Jeriel. I'll check in on your blog. Good to hear from you.

K. Smith
Eng. 226

Sara Michelle said...

I was in the same Junior English class as Sherry and she definitly did some work on grammar. She is the reason I know the little bit of grammar that I do. Although, I don't remember any of my other English teachers in high school teaching a lot of grammar.

Jonathan Smith said...

I definitely appreciate all your comments on my papers. I see that I have a lot of work ahead of me with punctuation but I keep trying. I thank you for being such an honest and helpful teacher.