Ah, nothing like long days of student conferences to really sap the life out of you and make you envy the dead. Often in grad school, you fantasize about being injured, so that you won't have to write that paper or meet that deadline. ("Man, if I got hit by a bus and put in a full body cast, I bet I could get an extension.) But only after meetings with loads upon loads of students do you truly pray for your existence to end.
There's a lesson in there somewhere. Damned if I know what it is.
My students have papers due, so naturally, they all have waited till two days before the paper is due to contact me. So for the past two days, I have been answering about a hundred e-mails, meeting with about 20 of my 34 students, and generally not accomplishing anything else because they keep pestering me and destroying my will to live.
Plus, of course, I've had my Writing Center shifts these past two days, where I get to look at even more student writing. I swear, by the end of tonight, I just want to start setting papers on fire and kicking undergraduates who get in my way. Why can't that be some kind of law? Or a tacit agreement? "I'll look at your paper, if I can kick you on your way out the door." That'd be sweet.
1. One student came in and claimed he was nearly done. I then pointed out that he had not a single debatable claim in his entire paper. He has since asked for an extension.
2. Multiple students cannot understand that The Sound and the Fury is a tragedy, and that Caddy is not a figure of hope for the modern woman in escaping the evils of traditional values.
3. Someone is actually writing on McTeague. After I hinted very strongly that I wanted no papers on McTeague, as it sucks.
4. People writing on Malcolm X seem to think it's ok to just tell me about all the different things he did. Or to claim as a thesis that "Malcolm X was a very important figure."
5. Some people can't seem to grasp that when I say "You might want to consider this other viewpoint", what I'm really saying is "Your reading of this text is quite wrong. Please change it before I have to fail you."
1. Today, one student seemed to arrive quite unwittingly at the Aristotelian definition of tragedy. Without ever having studied tragedy before. Made my morning. At least until the next student came in.
2. I cleaned parts of my apartment. This was very therapeutic for me, as it did not involve any conscious thought.
3. I think I finally found an intriuging way for a student to write about Caddy Compson without being trite or cliche. I shall now use this idea as the foundation for any teaching I do on The Sound and the Fury in the future.
4. I've been so busy with others' work, I haven't had time to be nervous about my CLC dissertation workshop on Thursday. (That will change tomorrow.)
5. Today, at the Writing Center, someone was writing about a character named Socrates, and he pronounced it So-crates (a la Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure's So-crates Johnson). I've never read the book he was discussing so for all I know, it actually is pronounced that way in that text. But I still nearly laughed out loud as he read his paper to me. Best part of my entire day.
Now if only I could see papers about Bob Genghis Khan, Dave Beethoven, Maxine of Arc, Herman the Kid, Dennis Frood, and....Abraham Lincoln. Ah, that'd be excellent.