Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Welcome Back to My Real Life

I returned to the classroom yesterday, feeling pretty jetlagged, but ready to go again. We had Peer Review on their first essay, which is a section of class where they bring in their essays, trade with a classmate and then evaluate each other's essay. Not only does it 1) give them an earlier due date so I don't have to read first drafts, it also 2) gives them a chance to have someone else take a look at their essay and 3) improve their editing skills.

See? I've thought it all out.

Except what do you do Student A brings in the SECOND essay to be reviewed? The essay that I'm going to assign tomorrow with a spiffy assignment packet, a presentation and all sorts of tips and strategies?

I met with Student A, a highly decorated (tattoo-wise) military veteran who is in his late twenties, and gently asked him why he chose to do the second essay.

He unfolds a note from his orthopedic doctor explaining that he's going to have surgery soon and he'll have to get up and move around, may not be able to sit. I said that's no problem, just please take a seat on the very back row so you don't disturb others if you have to move. And it's okay to get up and walk around OUTSIDE. As a teacher, can I just say things aren't looking real great?

So I herded him back to the subject at hand.
--Why did he do the second essay?
--Because I want to get ahead.
--But you can't really do that one yet because we haven't finished the first one. Besides, I haven't given out the assignment sheet yet.
--I looked in the Course Calendar and read what you said and went off of that. (He pulls out his notebook, stuffed with papers every which way.) See? Here's all my research for my paper on Tattoos.

Note to self: add "tattoos" to the list of banned topics. And I'm wondering if while in the service, that not only did he enjoy the local tat parlor but also the local drug dealer? *Focus, focus.*

I start him on brainstorming some topics to write about. He reassures me that it's no problem to write an essay about the first time he served in combat--It will be a wonderful essay, he says. Really wonderful.


1 comment:

Lisa said...

Your post gave me a much needed laugh this afternoon. I was even having one of those pity parties because I am not in that stage of life where I can out on real people clothes and go teach a class or two. Cover in splatters from yet another batch of pasta sauce, with two little ones hollering in the bakground, reading your post was a good reminder of the even distribution of problems. A research paper on tattoos? Was there a stance taken or just a history lesson provided? Sheesh. At least it was not another in the steady stream of research papers about legalizing weed. Brother (I'm rolling my eyes here).