01 October 2008

My Latest Advice on Papers

My latest advice on papers, which I am able to give you because of the one I am reading Right Now, is:

Do not, especially if you are the sort of student who has not shown up ONCE in class so far (we're now at midterms), begin your paper with a statement about how the best literature in the world has been produced by British writers, especially some from the twentieth century, though class in the last few weeks has opened your eyes to the wonders of medieval literature, because

a) It can't possibly have done that, since you weren't here, and

b) even had I not had the training I've had, I would be able to Quickly! Like a Shot! recognize this sentence (and indeed, the next four pages, as it turns out) as Blithering Meant to Take Up Space Until You Reach the Page Count.

Head. Desk.

I'm going to go eat my dinner; tomorrow I'm sure I'll be able to approach this paper calmly, pointing out simply that there is no thesis (at least not one that I've discovered yet), and that if you've only got 5 pages, you need to actually focus on an aspect of one work, in order to discuss it fully. Rather than, you know, discussing All of Medieval Literature.

And by that time I'll be able to be polite about it.


Reya Mellicker said...

I'm sorry you have to read so many papers. I really am.

Head. Desk.

Hope your dinner was fine.

Scott said...

Ah, yes. The most otiose responsibility of teaching English: reading twaddle, clack, and maunder. Know that there is a wide fraternity of teachers out there who can empathize with you pain, share in your sense of WTF.

You are not alone. Do not let the essay make you feel that you are alone.

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