The joys of being a college instructor.

Ah sarcasm...where would we be without it? Yes, I am a college instructor. More specifically, I teach English Composition. My job is to teach 18 year-old college Freshmen how to write a proper essay. Why, you ask? Why would I want to torture myself in the most masochistic way possible? Because I was fooled into believing that I could do more with a Master's degree in English than just teach. If anyone ever tells you that, run! Run fast, run far, but just run! Don't get me wrong, I do have some really great students who actually learn something and go on to get a degree, but many, many students are here because Mom and Dad said, "Go to college or join the military." And it seems like there are more and more students like that every year I teach. How did I get to be the lucky one?

My Alyssa is in 5th grade this year. This is her wonderful little narrative essay that she wrote for her English class:

Three days after my sister's due date we were getting our monthly checkup. The doctor said, "The baby might be sick so we'll go ahead and put you in the hospital and start labor tonight." I jumped for joy. Waiting nine months for one baby is a long time.

At the hospital that evening I'd brought a few things. I wandered around the waiting room and looked at the babies in the nursery. I watched boring tv and had my first cup of coffee (which tasted horrible). It seemed like we waited forever. For a while I read.

Suddenly I was awoken by my grandmother poking me. She said, "Come see your new sister." I hopped out of the squashy chair and walked quickly to the door.

In the room I saw my mom, dad, aunt, and some more grandmas. Sitting down on the end of Mom's bed she handed me the smallest, cutest, pinkest, blue-eyed baby in the world. Aislin is her name; she just stared at me awe inspired. It's the best memory I have.

Now tell me that's not the cutest thing you've ever read (no bias here)! She got 100% on her essay and it's in her "great work" folder at school. Yes there are some grammar errors, dangling modifiers, etc. But she's in 5th grade.

Now let me share with you how my students, all of whom have graduated high school, put together a thesis sentence. This exercise was on a quiz. I gave them a bad thesis sentence and they had to revise it into something more specific and narrow. The sentence was, "I hate Tom Cruise." (I actually do, but no offense to his fans). So I was looking for something along the lines of "Tom Cruise is not one of my favorite actors because he "over-acts' and is not believable as a character." This is what "D" gave me (word for word):

I hate Tom Cruise because he is a woman organizer and thinks he's all that.

Most of them weren't much better than that. As I said, these are high-school educated students.

And they will be running the country when I'm old.


Susan said...

So far so good. I like your blog and the name just seems to fit. I think I'll put you on my list of "regular reads".

Oh, and we should all be scared if that is what is coming out of our high schools. A "woman organizer" indeed. *snork*

Terri said...

I have news for you. We're not all 18 year olds who are going to college because our parents told us to "go to college or join the military." Perhaps if you look at that a little differently you might enjoy your "job" a little more. Or perhaps you're still looking for a "career?"

Erin said...

I hear ya....I'm a college librarian. I get to deal with these future leaders when they come in to do "research" for the aforementioned masterpieces of prose. Gods, if I could only count the number of times I've been asked "do you have books about the cops?" or something similarly brilliant..... (and BTW, welcome to the world of blogging!)

Kiwi Jo said...

Welcome to the blogging world! Your daughter's essay is adorable! Jo