Wednesday, May 16, 2012

One casualty of grading lower-level research papers is the boredom factor.  John Berryman said it best, in his poem Dream Song 14: "moreover my mother told me as a boy (repeatingly) ‘Ever to confess you’re bored means you have no Inner Resources.’ " However, I don't think this really applies to wrangling a misplaced modifier to the ground, especially if they've lost their way on pretty much the rest of the essay.

So here for your enjoyment, is some of the best and the brightest lines from the recent batch (I'm kidding--no A students are included below):

Not only will they know the medical history but also they will have the opportunity to learn more about his or her personal history. This can make it easier for the child to answer questions such as, “Who am I?” and “Where did I come from?”  (from a paper on Open Adoption.  The essay was mostly plagiarized and she failed the assignment.)
Prevention of homelessness could be prevented, by providing supportive housing, a job, and healthcare. (I suggested he read his papers out loud in the future to catch syntax errors.)
Immigrants not only raise up American population, but also brights the knowledge from their country which make U.S economy unique.  (from my Chinese student, whose English skills belie the fact that he's really really smart, and whose phrasing makes me smile sometimes) 
International adoption has allowed the access for many orphan’s to live abroad in permanent loving homes. When orphans are given the privilege by their government to live in another country, they will be opening the doors for couples. The new window of opportunity to take an orphan from another country will provide the child with a safe home and a loving family, which is not only benefiting the child, but the new parent as well. The parent will encourage and protect them from the dangers that may arise. All in all, the love they provide the child will most likely enrich the life and give them hope and a sense of belonging. Most of all it will remind the child that they are not forgotten.
(I call her the Queen of Redundancy.  That misplaced apostrophe is her work.)
 "One of the main reasons why americans have unions is to make sure their getting paid enough for the work they put into a curtain company. (This student is a happy ray of sunshine in our classroom, and I'll take her anytime, even with typos and misspellings.)

So, as you can see from my comments on their writing, it's always a mixed bag at this level. The really faltering students have dropped (although I liked some of them, too) and I'm left with those who have hung on and put up with my incessant homework and assignments and requirements and quiz after quiz.  My son Peter and I had an interesting conversation today about how the middle class is getting shafted (no big surprise).  It occurred to me as we were talking that these students are in that group, because their education--their ticket to the future--has been fairly decimated.  Eighty percent of the teaching at my tiny community college is done by adjuncts.  If they are only getting teachers who are being paid (if you calculate the hours spent for the money earned) less than these students are at their Starbucks barrista jobs, what kind of talent is behind the desk at the front of the classroom?

My friend Judy and I feel like we do a pretty decent job, but we were recently in a meeting where one adjunct, who teaches at another school, confessed to only assigning half the number of required papers.  I was pretty stunned and a bit angry at a situation which hires people who are beyond stressed, and who can only give half of what is needed.  I salute the students for persevering through their shell of an education, and applaud them for getting through my class, even with their quirks, typos and misplaced modifiers.

Here's to a happy summer! 


Judy said...

Maybe we should join the union so we get paid for all the work we put in at a curtain school. Would that help? These are great. Congratulations on making it through another semester! (Or would that be "congradulashuns four makeing it threw another won"?)

Sherri said...

Oh...maybe I shouldn't have read these...I spent over 8 hours struggling with my own versions of research papers yesterday. I, too, have a verifiable queen of redundancy! My hardest-working student this semester is a non-native English speaker; she has worked so incredibly hard and yet still has so many troubles with correct sentence structure.

Oh, well...I just have one paper to go...absolutely could not finish the last one last night!