Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Anyone Notice Anything Today?

Anyone notice that I’ve posted not once, not twice, but three times a lady? That is because I have been grading papers and It. Is. So. Painful. I have become the world’s best procrastinator. It wasn’t an easy accomplishment. It’s taken years and years of perfecting my technique, but grading these papers has really honed my skills.

I’ve only seen parts of the movie Billy Madison, but there is a scene in which the dean of something important says to Adam Sandler’s character (and I’m paraphrasing): “Something, something, something and everyone here is dumber for having listened to it. I award you zero points and may God have mercy on your soul.” And that is how I feel today. My IQ drops a point or two with every paper I read. And now I’m starting to forget the basic rules of grammar and punctuation and even worse – I’m starting to think my students might be making some sense. About a guest speaker, a male student wrote, “Dr. S was a captive speaker.” Two years ago, I would have been appalled. Now I have to pick up the phone and call my mom, “Mom, can a speaker be captive? Is there another way to use the word captive? Or do you think he just meant captivating?” There are a few I still know. For example, I know chicken pox is not chicken pocks. (I also had to look up if it was one word or two. Apparently either is acceptable.) I’m pretty sure. I think. I don’t know. Ask me tomorrow.

Here are just a few of the things that have tripped me up today. And I am very afraid. May God have mercy on my soul:

  • One student used the term “over generalize” many times in her paper. And I corrected it to, “overgeneralize.” But when I typed it up in Microsoft Word, I got the wavy red, “You’re an idiot and you can’t spell” underlines. And then I looked it up on, (Perhaps not the best source, I realize) and found it listed as overgeneralize. See, what’s so scary here is I USED to know these things. I did.
  • Another sentence: “Sex is rarely if not ever queued by our heads.” Isn’t it rarely, if ever? Is it? IS IT!?!?!?! And I think he meant “cued” by our heads and not “queued” but after a while it all just starts looking like a foreign language that I’m just starting to learn and what the hell do I know?
  • The activity was decent but lacked and grand information. Two things: Proofread your damn papers and now I’m supposed to come up with GRAND information? Can’t I just have GOOD information? Did he mean great? Does grand mean something else that I don’t know?
  • The first was one would have to obtain a mucous membrane on the body. I had to read this sentence three times. I think she meant “have” because “obtaining” a mucous membrane is a little different than just “having” one. Okay, a lot different.
  • Chicken pocks student also wrote, “Contrary, another question was , “who would you disclose if you had contacted (italics mine) chicken pocks?” Hell, I contact chicken pocks all the time and I don’t care who knows it. Why, just the other day I said, “Honey, you wouldn’t mind if I got on the horn and gave ol’ chicken pocks a shout, would you?” But more disturbing to me was the “Contrary.” Are we British? Did she mean, “In contrast,” or “On the contrary,” or even something French?
  • Tracy associates her behavior to being socially isolated in high school. Students called her “the jolly green giant” as a result of her height.” You attribute behavior to something, don’t you? Right? You don’t ASSOCIATE it, I hope (at least that’s what I wrote on his paper.) You associate with, you attribute to. And people call you the Jolly Green Giant because of your height, not as a result of your height. Or am I wrong?
  • There seemed to be an emotional void in each person, and the essential reason for sex was that this behavior provided the greatest amount of securing this void. Did he mean filling the void? Potential for temporarily obscuring the void?
I’m so depressed and I’ve lost my damn mind. I could go on for hours (unfortunately) and I will probably post (yet again) this evening. Inappropriate Brother’s paper is sitting at the bottom of the pile and I’ve been avoiding it. Like the chicken pocks.


Blogger Art Nerd Lauren said...

Sorry to be a comment whore. I relate to the feeling dumber. Between students and the chat board I go to, I am starting to do things that would have gotten my hands slapped years ago- confusing two, to, and too. your and you're. ACK! I love when they get all offended, too (right?), about grammar and spelling counting. This isn't, like, an ENGLISH class, dude! grumble grumble grumble.

April 29, 2006 8:14 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

April 29, 2006 11:06 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

You're not a comment whore! A colleague told me that when students say, "This isn't an English class," she replies, "That's right. It's a university!” and that seems to shut 'em up fast.

April 29, 2006 11:08 PM  
Blogger Antique Mommy said...

Was Dr. S. speaking to a captivating audience? And BTW, sex is queued in my head -- right after laundry and the kid is in bed.

May 01, 2006 12:02 PM  
Blogger ColoradoCastaway said...

“Dr. S was a captive speaker.” was he speaking during a class on Bondage? if so I can see how you might have a captive speaker on your hands, otherwise, No. Some of the issues you run into, I think, are an over reliance on spell and grammer checkers in today's software(i.e. MS Word). Just because it is scanned as correct does not make it correct in the context in which it was used. Her's a simple example, "The sun was blazing, and the dessert was dry." Maybe it was dry, but was it a pie, perhaps a cake, or a desert like the writer intended. Word thinks it's okay but we know it's wrong. I'm no great writer myself, but when I turned in College Papers, I made damn sure they were written correctly.

May 01, 2006 12:29 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

If the writings you post are the norm in college these days, it is no wonder that my lit teacher was so impressed with my essays. They may have only taken me 20 minutes to rattle off, but at least I proofread them.

May 01, 2006 12:50 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

Yep, they're the norm. I did the math last night and realized that in the past two years, I've had 255 students total. And I've had approximately 10 who could write a halfway decent paper. On those students' papers, I write, "When you go home for break, go back to your high school, find your English teacher and tell him or her, 'Thank You.'"

May 01, 2006 1:00 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

Oh, so sad! But also a bit funny. Perhaps one of next semester's texts could be "Eats, Shoots and Leaves?" :)

Well, at least I know these kids won't be taking over my grant writing job in a few years.

May 02, 2006 11:12 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home