Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Verbgasm

When I was in college, my biggest problems were hangovers and finding parking. My students seem to have to deal with so much more. Many have to work full time because their parents are unemployed, many of them struggle with learning disorders, and many of them even struggle with health issues. Consequently, I often feel sympathy for my students. But last week, I stood in front of the class and saw twenty-five pairs of eyes filled with pity directed at ME.

They were feeling sorry for me because they couldn’t believe that my life was so pathetic that I actually found the shit I was teaching as interesting as I did. You see, I tend to get really excited when I teach language awareness.

Enthusiasm oozes from me as I encourage them to take advantage of all the wonderful verbs at their disposal. I work myself into a frenzy as I ask the class, “Why use boring old walk when you could use verbs that paint a picture like lumber or saunter or parade? Isn’t skulk such a fun verb? Isn’t the verb wilt just so beautiful? ”

My enthusiasm, however, isn’t contagious. My students just stare at me with this expression that says, “Awww. The poor dear. She really needs to get a life. Maybe we should show her how to play Angry Birds.”

However, I think I actually broke through to one student. I was grading her essay today, and she used a very interesting verb in an essay about her bike:

The feeling of absolute freedom I get when I curse down the street at full speed with the wind in my hair is amazing.

Everyone cruises down the street, but cursing down the street on a bike at full speed is pretty unique.

Usually, it’s me in my car cursing at the bikers.

27 comments:

Shelly said...

I have faced the pity/ pathetic look myself. It won't stop me from my quest for lively verbs-

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Yes, I get that look a lot from my friends. I don't understand it! :)

Shannon said...

She curses on a bike and I cruise like a sailor. Makes perfect sense.

the late phoenix said...

it's good to be passionate about something, whatever that thing may be. i myself am currently in the middle of a gasm chasm...

Jaya J said...

lol. i just imagined it.

Crystal Pistol said...

I think your enthusiasm is very contagious! The title here is brilliant, by the way! :)

I'm enjoy a good multiple verbgasm. ;)

Duncan D. Horne said...

Haha, it's always fun reading through students' essays!

Duncan In Kuantan

Sydney said...

i love learning new words! i wouldn't stare at you like your students did if you were my teacher! :D

sydsense

Gorilla Bananas said...

Turning nouns into verbs is what poets do. I remember reading a poem with the line "as the men campfired their suppers" in it.

Rachael said...

When we had extra time at the end of class, or sometimes just as a treat, I'd let my students play "the Verb Game," where they'd take turns acting out the missing verb from a sentence, like, "The man _________ toward the house." The person who guessed the verb the actor intended got to be the next actor, but they all kept lists of possible "better" verbs. So much fun!

Dylan Fitzgerald said...

I myself am an adjective girl. I was studying for the GRE on a plane recently and- honest to God- started giggling with sheer, delicious pleasure at words like "obstreperous" and "contumacious." People didn't look at me with pity. They looked at me with alarm.

Another good alternative for "walk" is "slouch," as in "slouching towards Bethlethem." You could never get that much menace into just "walk."

Hart Johnson said...

It seems to me at 20 I chuckled at teachers who got so excited about their subject, with... yes, some pity, but as i get older I could look back and realize they rock. It just takes a little perspective.

Theresa Milstein said...

Poor you! I've had moments when I find history as thrilling as a car chase in a movie, while my students give me looks of pity.

I think you're taking the wrong cursing. Perhaps these are magical curses because your student is a witch. Think of the possibilities.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You got through to one! I usually have a few choice words to say as well.

Jen Daiker said...

This was fun!!! I remember being that teenager sitting in class listening to the history teacher go banana's about a certain point in time she wished she lived in. I wanted knock myself out or escape in any possible way.

English however was another story. I was just as captivated as my teacher was... so I was the nerd in that story.

As far as cursing, I'm sure I've cursed on a bike while trying to carry groceries at the same time. Yea, it could happen...hehe

my day in a sentence said...

I'm new to your blog but, lemme tell you, it's a lovely read! :)
Following! :)

Mary Aalgaard said...

You're the only person I know who can find the sexy in grammar. Carry on!

Holly Vance said...

A) I was just playing Angry Birds before I signed on.

B) I had an organism at "lumber". You're good, girl.

Michelle Fayard said...

I love the voice of your blog! Working for the University of California for my day job, I'm in a position to see a lot of "cursing by" as bicyclists and drivers of motor vehicles jockey for space on the crowded roads. :)

I’m glad to be a new follower and have left a response to your comment on Bird’s-eye View at http://michellefayard.blogspot.com/2011/07/getting-blog-comments-to-work-for-you.html.

Amie Kaufman said...

Ha, I'm with Hart, who commented above -- it's funny how many things I'm passionate about these days that I'd have strolled straight past (see what I did there?) when I was younger.

Talli Roland said...

I love cursing down the street! Actually, there is a crazy old man who runs down the street shouting curse words at the top of his lungs. If he wasn't so scary looking, it would be kind of funny.

Stephen Tremp said...

Amen to that, sister. You're preaching to the choir. If bicyclists want to use the streets, they need to obey the same laws we do and pay registration fees just like drivers. Really irks me to see them in large groups running red lights.

Liz said...

Bikers scare me.

And this post is hilarious as always.

Clarissa Draper said...

Well, thank goodness none of my friends know I write. I think they would give me the pity pat on the back.

notesfromnadir said...

Maybe she's so used to cursing she just does it all the time!

Sara said...

Love the "When Harry Met Sally" shot. My favorite movie!!

Sara said...

PS: Could not agree more! Love the word "skulk" and use it more frequently than I probably should. LOL. Also, I'm so excited to find someone who is as much of a word geek as I am.

I would've loved to have you for a teacher. I bet someday students WILL leap onto their desks and hail you as el capitán. :)