10/2015 Freshman Papers
Freshman papers due and I have hundreds to grade so I won’t be writing until get them done. English is a difficult subject to teach for a number of reasons. First, most students in freshman classes are literally all over the place. Some had good high school English teachers, some not so good, some come form good schools, others from those just getting by. Others come from either the military or from the regular world where they have, for the most part, learned the minimum wage world can be a difficult place to live. Also some sadness – I caught one of my freshmen cheating on a paper. She pulled it off the Internet with minimal intro and conclusion added and when confronted about it claimed she had written it in high school – a double whammy as a previously written paper is not okay to submit in a college class. It turned out that she had submitted it in high school and received a good grade on it, however, she took it off the Internet then and it wasn’t her’s. She thought it was okay to sue and it was her paper since she had used it once. Scary, but not all that uncommon. Each year brings more and more students who are essentially unprepared for college level writing and many don’t even know the fundamentals of grammar. Makes my job difficult as freshman English is meant to prepare a student for all the following classes required writing needs and I only have 16 weeks in which to do it. While it gladdens my heart to see most go from D papers to A/B papers, I still, after all this time, hate that I can’t save them all. Some simply won’t let me and though I know the failure of those few is not my fault, I still hate it anyway.
Update: It’s that time in the semester where my students writing generally improves dramatically, making the grading much faster than earlier in the academic year. I am now finished and all papers are graded, so it’s back to the people anxiously standing around my desk that only I can see.