Thursday, April 9, 2009

I am the Anti-Christ, apparently.

The assignment: Thesis essay on To Kill A Mockingbird. Choose one of five given themes and write a minimum of four paragraphs explaining your theme. Examples should relate back to thesis.

Oh boy.

Nothing kills the classics like having to read 50 poorly written essays butchering great literary works. I wish I could say there were some saving graces in this bunch; sadly, this batch would have poor Harper Lee turning in her grave (if she were dead).

One in particular stood out among the group:

First, he gets his rough draft back and sees the score is a zero. It’s not like I just GIVE grades, you have to earn them. And to earn a zero, you have to fail pretty magnificently. I was completely justified (for example, if you turn it in printed in magenta, that’s a pretty good indication that you sat at a computer for two days fucking around with the settings and doing little else). He tried handing in a thesis paper..... without a thesis. This isn’t rocket science, but Jesus, give me some credit for intelligence. I KNOW what a piece of shit essay looks like, and PINK is one of the warning signs.

He fancies himself a writer, yet he probably had ONE grammatically correct sentence in the entire two paragraph (should have been five) paper. He referred to the "...heart stopping love tail" that is apparently the main storyline for To Kill A Mockingbird (Scout has a romance with Boo??? What edition was he reading and where can I get a copy?). Words were misspelled, commas were either missing or used gratuitously where one wasn’t needed, proper names either weren’t capitalized or were completely wrong, events were pulled out of NOWHERE, and the whole thing was fucking pink.

When he got it back, he was "devastated". He talked to everyone about it except me. I offered him help. Numerous times. He told me, "No. I don’t need your help. I know what you think I did wrong. Now it’s just a matter of pride." I actually started to feel bad, but I hoped that if his pride was damaged, he’d try harder next time....

I got the final copy, which was worse. He changed NOTHING. Oh, wait, it wasn’t pink. And when I asked him today if he was SURE he wanted that to be his final copy, that this was a unique, once-in-a-lifetime redo, he looked me square in the face and said "No." And when I told him that the final was actually WORSE than the rough draft, suddenly it was MY fault for not telling him what was wrong. To which I told him, "Produce the rough draft and tell me where I didn’t show you what was wrong." And thank god I have a co-teacher in that class who had my back the whole time... because the student simply walked away. The sad thing is that he’s already failing the class, and this will only make it worse. And he’s one of those kids who you can TELL is super smart, but lazy as fuck. It kills me.

Ah, teenagers. At least by having to play teacher all day I feel like a grownup again.

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