My Fault

I tried so hard to teach students to avoid trivialities and generalizations that I completely forgot to tell them to avoid statements that combine both. Thus, I have nobody to blame if a student hands in a paper that starts with,

Marriage is a sacred thing.

Eat Fresh Fruits and Vegetables!

Every blogger knows that early spring and late Fall are the most dangerous times because avitaminosis is making people go off their rocker massively. Today, the quiet, ultra-polite persona of a reader of this blog has perished as a result of this difficult season. The reader has decided that I’m “a threat to public health.” This is the freakiest comment since the time somebody wrote that I’m the epitome of everything that is wrong in the world.”

Please, folks, don’t forget to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. They are important at any time of year, but especially so in early spring.

Resentment Against English

I’m experiencing a growing resentment towards the Department of English. They get most of the resources at our College of Arts and Sciences, they steal the right to teach World Literature in translation from us, they squeeze us out of the International Studies major, they see every single student pass through their courses as part of the general education program, they unilaterally decide their graduate students don’t need to be competent in a foreign language and slash the requirement, they have a bizillion faculty positions and keep getting more and more, nobody threatens them with getting rid of them or removing their funding, and they bully other departments around just because they can.

But I see no evidence that they are doing their job. A student who is finishing a Major in English has zero understanding of what a thesis statement of an essay is and what are the MLA guidelines for formatting bibliographies. Students who have passed through English Lit courses have no idea that essays should have meaningful titles (other than Essay #1, that is) and that a 10-page essay cannot be written in a single paragraph.

I just got my students in the advanced literature seminar to submit a thesis statement for the final essay, and the only ones who did a good job are those who took an advanced course with me last semester and learned how to do it. The rest think that a thesis statement means a list of “themes” they identify in the work of literature being analyzed. I swear, if I hear the word “themes” one more time, I will have a fit.

Given that we do exactly what English Lit does but “backwards and in heels” (i.e. in a foreign language) and we still manage to do a better job, I’m beginning to wonder what the problem is.

Clarissa the Terrible

It is time to face the sad truth: people are terrified of me. I have no idea what I do to scare them but that’s the result.

A student I have had in my courses for a year and a half sent in an assignment a few hours late and accompanied it with a screenshot of the properties of the document showing the created and revised dates to prove he had done it on time but failed to send it in for technical reasons. The email was written in a self-debasing, groveling tone that really scared me. Given that I have never in my life refused to accept late assignments, I have no idea where this terror of me comes from.

Pregnancy Apps

At first, I found my pregnancy apps (I have 2) to be quite useful. They explained to me what my symptoms meant and how the fetus was developing. This was interesting and fun. Now, however, they have started getting preachy and creepy.

To give an example, yesterday, in the section addressed to the expectant father, the following advice was proffered:

Surprise your pregnant partner by doing something nice for her. Like cleaning the bathroom! Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do that. . .

It is sad when cleaning a toilet becomes surprising in an adult. It is also confusing why cleaning a bathroom is something to be done for a woman. Surely, she is not the only person in the house to use it. I seem to recall that men also urinate and even. . . believe it or not . . . defecate. And how old exactly is this expectant father supposed to be if he has no idea how to clean a bathroom and needs instructions? Is he really old enough to be having sex?