Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Almost End of One Very Long Week

I've spent the week conferencing with students and am once again reminded of the range of their diversity. I'm not talking skin tones here.

The last young man to visit, B, said "yes, ma'am" everytime I asked him a question. He shook my hand on the way out. Here I am in one of the most conservative corners of Florida, and he reminded me how very much my students don't practice those infamous Southern manners.

Now, I don't demand or expect "ma'am." It's just nice to hear it. It reflects well not on me, but on B and his family.

In contrast with B's manners, somewhere between 10 and 12 students couldn't bother to keep their appointments. Most did get in touch, but several didn't.

One pair of students just decided that they would share his appointment. The half-hour I scheduled for him was hardly adequate to discuss his papers. I could hardly squeeze her in, too.

One student was flabbergasted by her (rather generous) B. "I've made A's in all my classes before. I have all the papers! I can get them and show you!" she cried. I can only assume her problems with organizing effectively and with writing eloquent sentences are recent afflictions.

I have yet to figure out how tactfully to say your writing is barely literate. Fortunately only a handful of students fall into this category. It's hard to know what do to for them when the best solution would be Mr. Peabody's Way Back Machine, set to return them to the year they were age 6, and back to their public library. Read, my pretties! Read!

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