It Pays Off

– After underlining hundreds of mistakes in each of the essays my independent researchers handed in,

– after writing endless messages saying that, “I will not accept your work until it is written by you and not by Google Translate,”

– after being driven to tears by the disastrous writing, shoddy argumentation, and incapacity to conduct independent research,

– after explaining time and again what constitutes a reliable academic source of information only to have an IMDb review cited at me,

– after reading things like, “Of course, the Spanish conquistadors killed many indigenous people, but there was a positive side to the conquest, too, because the Spaniards brought good things like weapons and horses to the New World”, “When Columbus first arrived in Latin America. . .” and “After the people of Spain took Franco down. . .”,

– after spending 80% of my office hours this semester going over the same mistakes in the essays that I already know by heart,

– after having nightmares that I will have to correct 260 mistakes in a single essay once again. . .

. . . I have finally received very good final versions of the essays with good research, original analysis, careful bibliographies and almost no mistakes from all independent researchers but one.

I’ve been grading non-stop, 10-12 hours a day, since Monday. I now can barely lift my right arm because of all the mouse-button pressing. But it is all worth it because I have taught several people to do research and write well in Spanish.

I will now be booking multiple appointments with a massage therapist.

Is Feminism a Tough Badge to Wear?

Guardian – what a stupid, obnoxious rag, people – published yet another idiotic, alarmist post. It is titled “Why is feminism such a tough badge to wear?”

To answer the brainless journalist’s stupid question: there is absolutely nothing “tough” about calling yourself a feminist. I have always identified as a feminist in a very vocal and insistent way. It cost me zero problems in my personal and professional life. To the contrary, it brought me and my husband together. The idea that, in this day and age, anybody but a complete country bumpkin who hasn’t been away from the pig farm in decades sees feminists as “man-haters” is ridiculous. Is the article’s author living in the same century as I am?

As for this boring old canard that students don’t raise their hands to identify as feminists when asked to because feminism scares them, it is promoted by people who are not educators. Before belly-aching about how this experiment proves something, I suggest the fool who considers herself such a specialist on student behavior try asking the class a few other questions. Then she will realize that it is next to impossible to get students to identify publicly as anything. Unlike this brainless piece of fluff, I have actually conducted this experiment. Students refuse to raise their hands when asked who among them plays video games, watches television, likes reality TV shows, shops online, has a credit card, and has breakfast. This does not mean that being a breakfast eater is “a tough badge to wear.” Students are reluctant to raise their hands because they are afraid that doing so might end up in them being put on the spot and asked to explain something or speak publicly.

I remember a prof of mine suddenly asking whether anybody in the class was married or divorced. I was divorced but I didn’t raise my hand. I didn’t know why he was asking and saw no reason to respond. I figured it would do nothing for my participation grade, so why bother?

In order to get students to discuss anything whatsoever (and especially getting them to say something in the first person), you need to work like an animal to create a special environment and a special kind of relationships within the group where that will be possible. Otherwise, any question starting with “are you. . .” or “do you. . .” will be answered with a deafening and slightly contemptuous silence.

Guardian has sunk low, indeed, if it asks some completely unintelligent loser with miserable writing skills whose entire system of beliefs is based on Google searches and Legally Blonde to contribute a post on feminism. Am I mistaken or is Guardian the UK version of The New York Times?

Happy Birthday, Klubnikis!


Happy Birthday, my dear sweet little girl. Your Auntie loves you very much and will come to see you very very soon. You are the most wonderful, brilliant, and beautiful little girl in the world.