Monday, April 16, 2007

What did you think I would say at this moment?

Today is only vaguely media related, in that I am grading and grading and really can't grade research essays with the TV or the computer or music or distractions of any kind on. But I'm going to talk about email later on, so that's my media offering for the day. But first, one can only keep up the research essay grading for so long before one starts to write nasty and unhelpful marginalia like "were you even AWAKE when we covered plagiarism?!" or "how many times do I have to tell you to make your thesis ARGUMENTATIVE?!" It's too late for all that, here at the end of the semester, so one must instead take a quick mental health break and do something else.

In this case, blog. On paper clips. Yes, that's the subject. Every semester at about this time, I suddenly start to need hundreds and hundreds of paper clips, in all sizes and configurations, from gem clips (no one understands the name) to teeny tiny binder clips to ginormous, dangerous metal devices designed to hold the research essay packets of my most industrious students. I think I like the paper clips so much because they give me the illusion of order: Look! Everything is neatly and nicely clipped in piles. Everything is clearly under control here! Sadly, it's all a ruse. A queen of classroom and curricular organization I am not, and so I use the paper clips as a crutch and my quest for more and better paper clips as a combination procrastination/self-help device. I once gave a student a slightly better grade on her essay largely because she handed it in with a paper clip bent into the shape of a bird. (Like these only better and less three dimensional.) It was fabulous! But my obsession is really very sad, as they so often are. But this is what I am reduced to when I am spending all my time grading and answering emails like this one:

Well i think its pretty unfair that im loosing points for not being able
to find a book. I had a hard enough time forcing my alternative source
into my paper. We shouldn't be required to force unfitting sources into
our paper. As for the annotated bibliography I guess I will e-mail it to
you asap.

(name deleted to conceal the guilty)

(The only background information you need to be able to understand the context of this message and my reaction to it? The kid is writing on To Kill a Mockingbird. Seriously? Seriously!

1 comment:

Lauren said...

You know, sometimes I have a romantic notion that I should have gone into teaching after all. And then I read something that brings me crashing back down to earth, such as the email this student sent you. And I'm all good again with the corporate world. Seriously, I would not have the patience for what you do. I am going to call you Santa Liliana from now on!