Disappointed Writing Students

ImageBeing part of a writing course is a huge disappointment for some college students. From the get go, nothing is as it should be.

Incentive is elusive. The distributer has gone out of business. The commerce thrived when books (and the act of reading) were banned to certain groups in the USA, but the government’s insistence on paying for books for disadvantaged students has helped shoot that mule between the eyes. When the government is late in distributing the funds, intended recipients sit through the ninth week of class, nursing their wounds, stubbornly bookless. While no one would think about scrounging for a donut or coffee, a book is another matter.

Learning should be provided, paid for, spoon fed.

Excuse and reproach are useful tools in a politically careful democracy. The disappointed segment of a writing class knows about these tools. The strongest excuse is always money. Nothing can be done without it, neither learning nor homework. Lack of funds is the teachers’ and government’s fault. (Interestingly, some of those who complain wave their expensive smart phones in the air, to make a point.)

 I created a Facebook page just for my students. It bears the picture of a famous Latino artist. Only half the students befriend me. Some say they refuse to be on Facebook. I find that hard to believe.

Links and reminders exist on the FB page. A letter is sent, every week, to every student, with the assignment. Knowing deadlines exist, students ask about them. The deadlines have passed. Why will I take the papers? Because I want to cut them some slack. They look disappointed. Won’t I take off points? How about if I take off 20 points for a late paper, no questions asked, like other teachers. Then the 69% mercy score they get will drop to a 49%.  I say I want them to pass and am willing to work with them. Further disappointment.

Each of the student’s papers is edited by me because the level I am currently teaching is two below college entry. My disappointed students (less than half of the class, admittedly) are new to the concept of a writing class. They don’t revise according to my edits (as explained on the front of the paper) because they don’t read what I have written.

I repeat that information when we are talking about grades. How about redoing that paper, young fella? Young lady?

The energy needed for the belabored explanation is a wipe-out. My disappointed students tell me they need handouts, every class, with detailed instructions that they won’t read and must have explained to them.

What is the woman raving about?