Wednesday, May 14, 2014

news from the front: "this should cheer you up..."

Today is 14 May 2014.  The blog post below was published on 22 November 2011.  A testimony to my infernal eternal pertinence!  It remains as relevant today as it did some 2 years and 6 months ago. Note also that we are smack dab in the middle of graduation ceremony season, that the Belovèd Grader Boob, one of my Brother-Units, is foremost in my thoughts today, and you can see that I am cosmically required to republish the darned piece.  The Universe has Its Ways.

we are gearing up for the aspiration under fluoroscopy early this afternoon.  good times.  i am in a world of pain and haven't slept in "i-don't-know-when."  well, that's not true:  i slept soundly between 1:30 am and 2:15 am, at which time i sang out a joyous "good morning" to various people who were stumbling off to their beds.

a professor of my acquaintance sent me something to lighten the mood.

oh, okay, it was my brother-unit, the grader boob.  it's all starting to get to him, dear readers.  the proof?  he forwarded an actual paper from a current student... to me, of all people.  it kills me not to be able to just publish the darned thing, but that would be... wrong.

so i'll just pick out select phrases.  the odds of this young woman landing on this blog?  astronomical.  but it could happen, and while her presence here would be more than welcome, there might be some initial discomfiture over the fact that her freshman comp paper has been featured for its general awfulness and horribleissitudèdness (for which my google auto-suggestion thingy would prefer "horticulturalist").

grader boob explains the assignment to which this student is responding:

This should cheer you up.

I’m sending along a copy of a student draft for Project X, an assignment nobly called “Rhetoric in Action.” It’s the final major work and it aspires to get the students to see that they can apply ALL that they’ve learned from the two Comp courses and go out and affect the world. (It’s really just a variation on the classical argument proposal—intro, background, proposal, justification, refutation, conclusion—but one can get in trouble for noting that point!)


(And XXX is nothing if not a social activist haven—our Occupy XXX group went from 100s to 5 to 2 over the course of three clear days/nights.)

In the attached, the student is arguing that students should not be forced to take General Education courses, for they’re coming into college better prepared than any group before them. From the first line, you can just watch the paper fall apart—for her logic, and her grammar, is impeccable. I especially like her refutation section which notes that students should take the courses so as not to deny teachers the opportunity to attain their dream job, teaching Comp classes.

hey, my temp is 101 and it's only 11 am!  oops.  it's 11 am and i am still sitting hunched over in my jammies, my legs probably fused with the wheelchair (i know my butt is... ouch.  ouch.  and -- again -- ouch).  somehow i have been reading in this hunched position, immobile in this god-forsaken mobility device, for over 8 hours.  my limit before the onset of terminal edema and general misery is... well, much, much less than 8 hours.

i am telling you this as a feigned excuse for behavior that i know is inexcusable.

you know you want to read the whole composition.  i know i want you to read the whole thing.  if you have to ask why, then you are a big bad meanie.

why?  well, largely, because the unbelievable must be believed. students can easily exit a public education by means of graduating from high school --where they took advanced placement classes, even -- yet not be able to think coherently, construct a simple argument, or express themselves persuasively using a level of grammar and spelling mastery acceptable to a beginning college student.

why?  (for you rick perry fans, this would be instance number 2)  because it illustrates some of the daily frustrations faced by teachers, especially those teaching students on a collision course with college, whose very placement defies any attempt to remediate, to fix what has been broken and duct-taped together for far too long.

why? because this student  raises some good questions about university education, though not the questions she intended to posit.  clearly, she was feeling feisty and competent, and we all hope that this spirit stays with her as she knuckles down and learns, giving that stance some legs on which to stand.

grader boob also wrote recently that the argument surfacing in his upper level writing courses, wherein the students insist that their chosen field of study and future employment (chuckle::guffaw::snort) does not require them to write well.  he responds with stories from his best friend, who runs an academic medical research laboratory, who hires and fires frequently on that specific basis.  the students, he notes, are unimpressed and think he blowing smoke up their derrières (my google auto-suggester would prefer -- i kid you not -- "derrida" or "derrick"!).

[uh-oh, i think i love it:  to blow smoke up the derrida, the old derri-dada, ha!]

if you should ever find this post, composition draft author, i hope you understand that i wish you well.  there are things that will become much easier over time, things that you mention, like time management and research know-how.  you're intelligent and clearly motivated, so i am betting your future will be a bright and accomplished one.  this composition, though, points to some problems about which my brother and many teachers grow frustrated -- but by which they are not cowed, because -- without fail -- they will continue to show up every monday, wednesday, and friday, hoping to make a difference.

though, as you point out, they are also keen on raking in the dough.

thank you for your work -- and enjoy the heck out of your college experience!

Careers Now

Six years of elementary school, three years in middle school and four years in high school is what an average student spends in school by the time they graduate high school, which comes out to be a total of thirteen years we spend our lives in school. Ever since elementary school students we have always heard our teachers lecture to us about that what they are teaching us right now is going to prepare us for college one day, and ever since then we have heard that same phrase until we received our diploma from our principle. 

Considering that most of our childhood years are spent preparing us for college and helping us get into college, so then there should be no reason to why we are paying money for classes that we already took in our thirteen years of school in our first year of college. As college students we should be able to start on our dream careers right away without having the annoyance of picking out classes that won’t help you in your career.

Many universities in the state of X have the policy of freshman college students taking
prerequisites there first year in college and believe it or not XXX has the same policy. As stated by the article of the XXXXXX Time Newspaper, “Preliminary figures show that enrollment is up 1.5 percent across XXX's four campuses compared with a year ago, topping out at 45,585”. Many of us
XXX students are just starting of at XXX and just graduated out of high school this past June of 2011 and went into either the summer school XXX had to offer or just started in the fall time of 2011 With us just getting out of high school we are wanting to start our new lives and work on our future because we all felt like high school was just a bunch of busy work that didn’t have anything to do with your career, so by the time we graduated from high school we thought we were done with all the busy work the teachers wanted to give us, but then we went to orientation and scheduled our classes for the fall time and found out that we have to take pointless/ busy work classes all over again. Many XXX students have taken AP classes while they were in their high school years, many of us have taken it because we want to get the college credit so we don’t have to waste our time and money on a class that doesn’t even bother with the career I’m going into. These high school AP courses were free, the classes were free and the test that we had to past at the end of the course to see if we get the college credit was free. Since college courses in high school are free, college classes in a student’s freshmen year should be free as well considering they are the same exact subject and topic but just taught by a professor and not a teacher, and it may be filled with a room more than twenty students.

Many of us go to college with money that is either from financial aid or from scholarships that we
have received in high school. Many of us don’t have a full ride or pre-paid plan for college, so the way we spend our college money is very important so that we have enough money left for us to finish college and get out degrees. All of us college students start out as freshmen in college at one point and there are over a thousand of new freshmen coming in every year, just imagine how much money XXX is making each year just from freshmen alone. To me that money is a waste, it’s such a waster that it should be applied to other little or pointless things on campus like the chalk that the student government writes on the sidewalk with, or supply paper to the XXXXXX (XXX’s newspaper), which no one’s seems to read. I believe taking prerequisites are and that they are just a big waste of time and money.

Life is short and money is tough to come by in this economy these days and with that being said we
as college students and young adults should have the chance of proceeding with our life and not being held back by taking high school classes all over again. With us being this young and starting our lives completely over again we are learning different ways of approaching time management skills and being independent. Also with college being so different compared to high school there are a lot of things we need to get adjusted to and get adjusted to it right away so we don’t get held back in our classes because of not knowing the skills we need to know to use our time efficiently and effectively. This was even stated by College Board stating that “Almost all colleges have core requirements to ensure that students explore subjects outside their major. These requirements range from math and history to philosophy and lab sciences. The number of required courses, and subjects, varies from one college to the next. You should fulfill these requirements as soon as possible so that you can spend your later semesters concentrating on courses in your major” (College Board). That’s why we should be given our classes for our major the first year so we know how are classes are ran and what is to be expected of us from the professors.

Even though preqrequites could be a hassle for both us students and suck out a lot of time and
money out of us but we are helping other people that have already been in our shoes and graduated
with a degree in Composition I or II because that’s what they’re interested are in they are interested in writing and teaching other people how to write and use English grammar correctly. By us taking those classes we are helping out a teacher/ person that had put their time and money to their school just so they can get there dream career. We are helping them finical wise and there effort and time wise.

We as students have earned our way to XXX through lots of hard work and time and effort. If we want to stop wasting our money on classes that we don’t need to be taking for our major then I say we protest!! We will all gather up around the Student Center and protest for a week or however long it takes to the admisntration of XXX. We need to save ourselves ad save the next upcoming freshmen’s from wasting their time and money as well. Taking prerequites does help other people get there dream goal and dream career but that’s a lot of money out of the thousands of freshmen each year just for those classes. I say let’s do will out the busy work classes and start doing work for our career!!

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