Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Can't win

So now that I'm healthy again, I was all excited to teach this morning because my early class is a bit behind and I thought we could catch up today. Fifteen minutes into class, I twist around and bedn over my notes for a moment, and PING - back goes out. Out, out, brutally and irretrievably out. Feels like a spike being driven through my spinal cord about three inches above my tail bone. Nauseating, sickening pain shoots through me every time I move. I thought I was going to throw up right there in class.

Somehow I pulled it off, mostly by allowing them to work together in pairs on the practice assignment. We're still trying to master the identification and repair of fragments, run ons, and comma splices. (If it's not a complete, independent clause, it's a fragment. If there are more than one independent clauses separated by only a comma, it's a comma splice. If there are more than one independent clauses without any punctuation between them, it's a run on.)

Been grading the other class's rough drafts since then. It's not pretty. Some of them are only lacking specifics in their supporting examples. Some of them seem to be utterly unacquainted with the priciples of logic. The worst of them are a jumble of apparently unrelated, yet repetitive statements. No, I don't know how that's possible either, but it is.

Yesterday some members of the class accused me of making them feel stupid. I told them that they would feel less stupid if they did the assigned work beforehand instead of trying to do it as we corrected it. Also, paraphrasing Phil,my psychologist uncle, I said, "I can't make you anything. You choose your own reaction to my words." Which, when you think about it, is just another way of saying "I don't make monkeys, I only train them." But I don't think they would have appreciated the Pee Wee Herman reference as much.

But thinking more about their complaints, I realize that my problem is that I see these kids more than I see anyone else besides Jay. I have been talking to them as if they were my peers, and they are not. They are my students. So I guess I need to cut back on the sarcasm, and save it for people who appreciate it. Bah.

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