Tuesday, August 21, 2007


West Point Lighthouse *** PEI


Sometimes when I have nothing to say, I look back at previous years' posts.

Today, if it were today in any of the past six years, I would be back for the teachers' orientation week at the Orthodox Jewish school in which I taught Social Studies. I would be wearing a long skirt, lugging AP textbooks from storage to classroom, and gossiping with colleagues.

Instead, I continued my efforts to purge our house of its twenty-three years of accumulated junk which includes, among other things, the English papers of a long-ago college student. As I looked at reams of typo-filled onionskin pages and the stream of comments that cover so many of them, I felt intense gratitude for the rigor of professors who were unencumbered by either grade inflation or a sense of duty toward the "self-esteem" of their students.

On the positive side, a freshman year paper on Richard II, with a B+(+) at the end and a lengthy comment beginning with the words, "A very good piece of work -- well-written, well-documented. (It is very refreshing to come upon a paper that actually shows some control of style.)"

More typical for some classes, a paper on William Blake for a junior year honors class, graded C+/B- with comments beginning as follows: "You must sharpen your language and avoid rhetorical evasions and redundancies."

I have decided to evade further paper sorting and look redundantly at photographs instead. Two years ago the Lovely Daughter and I had just returned from a graduation trip to Prince Edward Island, Katrina was in no one's lexicon, and college in Oregon instead of in NOLA was in no one's line of vision. How quickly things changed in a week!


Jan said...

How quickly things change! I agree with that today. Thanks for your support and suggestions. I admire your cleaning out of papers, one of the pitfalls in my life.

Presbyterian Gal said...

From experience I know life can change on a dime. Oh yes it can.

It's when you so wish it would that it doesn't and when you least expect it that it does.

mompriest said...

I've been doing a lot of cleaning out and purging. It feels good - but I have not, yet, cleaned out the boxes of papers from seminary...that waits for another day.

It's good work even if some of the comments point out the growing edges of a growing young person.