Friday, August 27, 2010

Worst of Times and Best of Times

While most are going back to school shortly, the quarter at my college is wrapping up. Part of me really hates the end of the quarter. The beginning of the quarter holds so much promise: the students are wide-eyed and eager to learn and I am excited about my role in making America a place where essays are organized and error-free. By the end of the quarter, the students look stoned and I have to accept that, once again, I have failed in making a significant impact on America’s written expression. This morning I almost asked the woman at Peet's Coffee if they were hiring.

The end of the quarter, however, is also very amusing. Many of the classes require the students to do final presentations, for which the students are required to dress up professionally. The awesome part is that many of the students interpret professionally as Julia Robert's profession in Pretty Woman. I’ve seen everything from sequins to mini-dresses to sequined mini-dresses.

Many of the instructors express disdain for the students’ lack of understanding what it means to be professional, but I think it’s kind of cute. They’re young. They’ll eventually learn that it’s not proper etiquette to attend a work meeting dressed as a Kardashian. Right? Right???

Another place they show their lack of etiquette is when referring to others in their writing. This, too, always makes me laugh. For example, I assigned my Critical Thinking class an essay in which they were to respond to an article by Salman Rushdie, and I got a lot of this:

Salman said, “….”

I don’t agree with Salman because….

Really, Guys, you are on first name basis with Salman Rushdie? The author who not only won the Booker Prize and was appointed Knight Bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II for "services to literature,” but was forced to live in exile after Satanic Verses prompted the Iranian government to call for Salman Rushdie’s execution. If my students ran into him, they would probably say, “Hey, Salman, I heard you were once married to Padma.”

When referring to other people in our writing, we should use their last names:

Rushdie was married to Lakshmi.

We can also use their full names:

Salman Rushdie was married to Padma Lakshmi.

Especially when the last name isn't enough to clearly identify whom the writer is referring to:

I can’t believe what Kardashian was wearing.

It really could be any Kardashian, right?

In situations like this, we use the full name:

In this case, my sentence would be:

I can’t believe what Kim Kardashian was wearing.

And this is why:


Bethany Elizabeth said...

Haha, cute! :) And that always bugs me too - my brother has gotten into the habit of not ONLY calling people he's never met by their first names, but shortening them and making them cutesy. Such as Julie for Julieta Venegas, a singer. It's just getting ridiculous.

Meg O. said...

Haha.... aw, the youth of America. Such a casual atmosphere, in their dress and the way they address. It's funny how some kids who are about a generation behind us feel like they're much more entitled than others so they can get away with anything. Ugh. Annoys me. At least they try.

p.s. I left you an award on my blog!!

The Invisible Seductress said...

...smiling....I can't believe it either!

Anonymous said...

I love your lessons...You must make your lessons in class fun too...And it is true I can't believe what any of the Kardashians wear...

James Garcia Jr said...

OMG! Even I could not believe what Kim Kardashian was wearing. All that money and she doesn't own a mirror?
My wife's a teacher. I've got to get her to start reading you, too. She'd think you were a "hoot". After 23 years with the lady I'd expect nothing less.
Thanks for posting...and for leaving your comment on my's always great to hear from you.

Mary Nevin said...

your blog is hysterical and oh so cute! i love it and will definitely be following, the wonderful meg o gave you award and i thought i'd check your blog out. kids i went to college with used to name drop authors and celebs like they knew them, they also used to pretend to be free of the "man" while enrolled in a private university. gotta love it. i'll definitely be following your adventures! :)

Boonie S said...

I rather like mini-dresses, although it's a long time since I've worn one.
Your lessons are amazing. Thanks.

All the best, Boonie

Anonymous said...

That skirt hangs on her like a set of Roman blinds. As for the first photo, it reminded me of the sticker collection I had when I was a kid. My favourite ones were the shiny stickers. They looked just liked that dress. - G

Wendy Ramer said...

In a public speaking class, I once had a student (despite instructions to dress professionally) stand up front with a tank top so short and jeans so low I could almost see her nipples and visualize her shaved pubic area. I was so distracted that I couldn't focus on her presentation (or my own thoughts) and told her so in my critique.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Ooo. On the outfit. And, Aw, on thinking the YA's are cute when they wear inappropriate clothing. And, well, better luck next time in your quest to clarify the writing of the future!

DEZMOND said...

oh, please, as if it's important what you're wearing if you're looking like miss Kardashian :PPPP

Hart Johnson said...

Those poor students... clueLESS. I hire students to do research with some regularity, and I don't know how often I've been tempted to email after and say, "you know, as nice as your butt crack is... probably you want to wear a belt to your next interview"

I use 'stuff' the noun a lot... always in an attempt to show my wishy-washy ways...

Theresa Milstein said...

If Kim is any sort of role model for these students, it's sad times. But if she's replaced Britney Spears.... I don't know which is worse.

Maybe calling Salman is a compliment. There's only one Salman ike there's only one Madonna. Maybe that was a bad example.

Anonymous said...

If your grammar lessons are this fun in your classes, I have to say I'm jealous of all your students!

By the way, there's an award for you at my blog. ;]

Anonymous said...

I thought Mr. Blackwell was still alive and blogging. The Kardashians are a mess. Why they still keep getting pub I'll never know. Lindsay Lohan on the other hand ... I still think she's hot.

Stephen Tremp

notesfromnadir said...

Sequined mini-dresses in the daytime at school? Wow, that's just wrong!

Using only the 1st name shows how informal students are.