Thursday, November 17, 2005

Swimming (Rather Drowning) in a Sea of Poor Prose

I haven't had much time to blog in the past several days. Actually, I haven't had time to blog all semester, but I did it anyway. Now I have no time to squander; I should be grading papers instead of typing here. The problem is that I like this much better than grading essays. Perhaps next semester I should just have a class blog and make my students post all their essays to the blog and let blog comments serve as their grade. Hmmm. The more I think about it, the more I think I should experiment with that idea.

My freshmen are working on their last essay right now, a review of a movie, book, TV show, CD, etc. To prepare for the essay, we are watching movies in class so that we can write a practice review. Two of my classes are watching The Shawshank Redemption, one of my all time favorite movies, and the other two are watching Hotel Rwanda, which I have never seen before and am watching for the first time along with them. I think I may have to watch the second half of the film over the weekend in the privacy of my living room, just in case it turns out to be really sad and I have to cry. I would hate to cry in class.

I remember Lee Camp referring to the Rwandan genocide in his book Mere Discipleship, and now I'm really starting to understand what he was talking about, even though so far the references to Christianity in the movie are very veiled and are almost non-existent unless you are looking for it. Seeing the movie has made me recall stories I had heard on the news, so now the whole concept of what happened over there is starting to come together for me and is making me want to read more about it to find out all the facts.

What else is going on? Nothing really. If I can make it through the next two weeks and get a lot of school work done, I'll be home free until the middle of January when it all starts back up again. Next semester I'll be teaching five sections of research and argumentative writing which will mean that I'll be reading the word count equivalent of one poorly written 300 word novel each week. And I'll have to teach research on top of that--ugh! But the good part is teaching the argumentative part of the course, and that means great in-class discussions. College students have such a unique perspective on things--in a way, they are very opinionated (usually those opinions are those of their parents), but also they are very naive, and it's fun to challenge their beliefs and make them explain why they have those beliefs.

So anyway, if you don't see any new posts here for a few days, you'll know I'm neck-deep in essays. But I'm sure I'll come up for a breath of fresh air to read all of your blogs.


Tony Arnold said...

in a way, they are very opinionated (usually those opinions are those of their parents), but also they are very naive,

Made me think of this quote by Albert Einstein:

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.


JMG said...

And his teachers said he'd never amount to anything!

Tony Arnold said...

BTW, I will never tire of watching Shawshank. Stephen King is an amazing writer, especially with his more obsure works.


jettybetty said...

I would love to be a fly on the wall for the argumentative part of your class--that would be so fun! I would be glad to let you grade the papers though ;-)!!!

I like the idea of a blog writing assignment--how much more real world can you get?

Ayatollah Mugsy said...

Hmmmmm ... Naive college students ... Feel free to send a few of them my way. They sound ripe for indoctrination.

Don't forget to come up for air.

JMG said...

Mugsy, I'm sure many of them could benefit from your tutelage.