Thursday, October 27, 2011

Burnt out on Basic

I know I suck at blogging lately. I think this is just not going to be a very good year. For the first half of the semester, I had five different classes to juggle. Now I have only four, but one of them is a section of Basic Comp with twenty-five students. This class is a complete time-and-intelligence suck, and I don't feel like I'm even doing anything useful. Mainly, I am repeating myself over and over for the benefit of people who cannot seem to figure out the bleeding obvious.

(For example: You should staple or paper-clip your papers instead of turning in a bunch of loose sheets. You should put your name on your paper. You should turn the paper in at the beginning of class on the day when it is due. You can find out when it is due by checking the syllabus. If you don't have the paper with you during class on the due date and you decide to bring it by the professor's office two hours later, only to find that she is teaching another class, DO NOT INTERRUPT THAT CLASS. Don't be rude to the person who gives out grades. Do not put your head down on the desk and suck your thumb during class. Do not type your papers in ALL CAPS. If the assignment asks you to evaluate an op-ed article from a newspaper, addressing how effectively the author makes his or her argument, and we have spent the last three days of class talking about what this means and looking at examples of possible thesis statements, do not simply summarize the article. Do not write about an article with words you don't understand in the title, unless you are prepared to look them up. Do not write about a news article that does not take an argumentative position. Do not write about an evangelical Christian web site. Do not write about a blog entry about a culinary gadget that electrocutes lobsters.)

Seriously. I feel like I'm spending my entire life telling people what not to do, and if I do this for another fifty years I still won't hit all the things they shouldn't do. I mean, it would never in my wildest dreams have occurred to me that someone would try to turn in a paragraph about a lobster-electrocutor. (Cue this classic bit of snark from Rate Your Students. This, friends, is Basic Comp in a nutshell.)

So, yeah, feeling pretty burnt out right now. (It will be better in the spring, when this class is tiny and I usually get to know the students well enough to be generous with them. It takes time to be generous.)