Monday, November 12, 2007

"...where all the angels meet with each other..."

One thing about teaching composition that is both amusing by spells and *headdesk*-worthy is the bloopers in student papers. Some are obvious goofs by an overly helpful spellcheck that can't read context -- "vestal lawn care" or the process analysis essay that defined the ridge of a roof as the place where "all the angels meet with each other." On the former, I actually wrote out the definition of "vestal," and on the latter, I wrote, "nice imagery, but I think you mean 'angles.'" Late night grading results in snarky comments sometimes. Lucky for one student I wasn't feeling snarky when I got to the paper that mentioned "mother-son bondage" (hot damn, I didn't know Jocasta was into that sort of thing).

And then there are the bloopers that can only be attributed to... pick a culprit; it's probably a combination of factors, the largest one being decreased attention to academic writing. And by academic writing, I actually mean writing that adheres to Standard English. But it's more than just making sure they iron out the glitches; their logic is... um, what do you call freshman logic?

One student took on the issue of interracial marriage, singing its praises. Lovely. I'm all for tolerance and breaking down historical barriers. But she had a hard time staying focused on the interracial aspect. One particular oversight was when she mentioned that if children were the result of such a union, they'd have the benefit of getting to know two different families! Granted, I do live in a state with a reputation for being "hick," but, really... I wrote something to the effect of, "Yes, but ideally most children would get to know two different families. I think you mean cultures."

And tonight, I wrote the following comments on a paper: "Well, there are male prostitutes, too" and "But it's not a crime if sado-masochism isn't involved?" My comments fit the context, by the way. But the logic was faulty.

... And the kicker? I read it through a couple times, inked it up a good deal, then played a hunch and fed a line to Google. First search, first hit. I'm getting entirely too good at this. The original source? An editorial piece.

Am I fighting a losing battle?


Here's Monday's post, early. My day's going to be crazy busy, but I'd hate to drop the ball and miss a day of November. What a great week this'll be, starting off with plagiarism, picking up with jury duty mid-week (it'd be neat to see the judicial process, but I've got to get out of it somehow...), and interwoven with a --pardon my French -- shitload of grading.

1 comment:

William the Coroner said...

For some reason, defense attorneys don't want ME on the jury...