Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Youth of Today

Sometimes the things that Rob's students write in their art appreciation essays are highly amusing. Today, I was copying the latest batch of paragraphs into a document onto my flash drive so I can grade them on the laptop. Last week's unit was about prints and printmaking, and the question asked about the work of Thomas Kinkade (or, more accurately, the sweatshop of Thomas Kinkade--I've actually met someone once whose life's ambition was to work in his sweatshop). The question asks, are the works offered for sale original prints or reproductions? One of the students' paragraphs began by essentially saying "yes, these works of art are original prints or reproductions."

Yes, the reading comprehension in his classes could be better.

Actually, though, my favorite sentence comes from earlier in the semester, in an essay asking about the Degenerate Art show put on by the Nazis: "Since freedom and rights were limited, people were probably afraid to speak their minds in respect to loosing [sic] their lives and what not." Yes, they probably were. And what not. God, I love that "and what not." It just kills me. In fact, it was a pretty good essay but I couldn't stop laughing about "losing their lives and what not."

I know I shouldn't mock people. But grading these paragraphs can be awfully mind-numbing, especially when there are 60+ of them. I need a little fun now and then.

Okay. Now it's time to make another attempt at writing the story I mentioned in the last post, a sort-of-sci-fi piece for this magazine issue. While swimming laps today I had an idea about how to structure it, and add a conflict (which is key). But I need to make some notes first and also re-read what I wrote last night to make sure it doesn't totally suck.

5 comments:

DaviMack said...

Yes, they're even stupider than they were when we were kids ... er ... well, maybe not. I remember a girl who honestly believed that the stars were plugged in at night....

TadMack said...

"...losing their lives. And what not."

Now, there was a child who was once told he was prone to hyperbole, and has taken steps to cut that right out!

Seren said...

And now I'm going to be adding "and what not" to everything I say for the rest of the day. Did I say "day"? I meant week and what not.

Neil Struthers said...

Here, hold on, I say 'and what not' all the time! The 'losing their lives, and what not' sentence has a wonderful Douglas-Adamsy, Kurt-Vonneguty feel. Full marks, son.

Mary Witzl said...

You're right: '...and what not' is great there!

I used to work at a school editing educational materials and, from time to time, grading students' papers. The native speakers of English generally did the editorial stuff, whereas the Japanese did the students' papers. One day, I looked over a colleague's shoulder and saw the following sentence:

"When many a thing un-understandable is made explicit, this explains to us many mysteries."

And he had marked it okay! Which was bad enough, but another kid had written the following sentence which had been marked wrong:

"They marked it down, so I went and bought it."

After that, I stopped looking over my co-workers' shoulders.