Portrait of the Drudge as an Old Man


God knows how many hours I’ve spent grading essays over the last 33 years. [1]

Outside of faculty meetings and writing report cards, assessing essays, — i.e., untangling twisted syntax, striking through flaccid phraseology, performing CPR on near-dead verbs (not to mention dealing with grammar and mechanics)[pant, pant] – is for me the least enjoyable aspect of teaching English.

How many essays over the years are we talking about?  Let’s see.  Seventy some odd [2] students writing ten compositions a year comes to – drum roll – 700.  Multiply 700 by 33, and you get 23,100.

[Cue the Godfather, James Brown]: Good Gawd!  That be way more than an ass/shit/truck load!

How high would they reach if stacked one-on-one?  My pal Horatio is cutting me off: ‘Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.”

Let’s just leave it like this: I’ve spent approximately 5,775 hours of my life correcting papers – i.e., 240 days, the equivalent of eight months, i.e., three-quarters of a year, one percent of my life.

But here’s the thing. That percentage is going down.  I’m retiring.  I only have 232 to go!

[Sigh]  An ass load.

[1]God knows precisely, but goddammit, I’m going to try to figure it out.

[2]And some odder than others

7 thoughts on “Portrait of the Drudge as an Old Man

  1. Yeah. The odd ones make for the funniest stories… and probably can make up even funnier stories for their essays. As a kid I used to laugh so hard at the things I would hear from my mom’s friend who taught high school math. “That woman don’t like me,” don’t really work for cut and dry subjects like science and math. Nevertheless, there was never a shortage of the brave ones that would put down the same, copied answers that their friends got and not understand why they received no credit. When a quadratic polynomial goes wrong, it can go wrong so many different directions… and the chances of your problem being identical to the guy sitting next to you just defy the laws that govern this universe. You desperately need the teacher to understand that you you know how to do the problem so you can get partial credit, but it would be like saying the student is an outlier of some sort and the laws don’t apply to them.
    The other kind that used to make me laugh were when people would claim they could solve huge problems in their head without showing their work. I didn’t like having to show my own work, and didn’t agree with the policy a lot of the time, but I still saw the benefit of working the problem out just to double check. I never had the audacity to just copy somebody’s answer that required half a page of work to attain. There should be a subsection of the school these kids should be admitted to where they learn how to become Rick Scott. Figuring a way to fudge the math (i.e. vote tallying) has become tradition now in Florida and Scott is definitely not above it. A few yrs. ago, if you’ll remember, he attempted his own version of the “Hanging Chad” in an effort to defeat Charlie Crist: http://www.cc.com/video-clips/3o1uzs/the-colbert-report-rick-scott-and-charlie-crist-s-bizarre-debate.
    I guess “Fangate” was an attempt to subvert the most expensive gubernatorial race in the country in order to win through a technicality, since he lacks the confidence in his character alone to win on merit. If Crist wanted to keep his boys cool in the debate, it should not have been Scott’s central focus. This year he is back up to his old shenanigans and has accused the Democrats of rigging the election, as I’m sure you probably heard. It’s crazy bc it is the Republicans who suppress the vote, but never get in trouble for it.

  2. Awe, man. I tried to delete that one because, ironically, it had mechanic issues. I thought I could eat a few Club crackers bf I edited, but now it’s locked in there. I think you have about 30 sec. bf the press is dry 🙂 (I worked at a printing press for a few months this yr)

  3. Pingback: 2018 Recap: Ch-ch-ch-anges – You Do Hoodoo?

  4. Although I can’t imagine you enjoyed reading and grading them, I actually enjoyed writing all but one of the essays you assigned us. (I *hated* having to copy Poe’s style, but I had a blast trying to write an entire essay without using any form of “to be” – in both cases, so much that I still remember the gist of the assignment 26 years later. Incidentally, if my memory serves, I believe I missed one “to be” in that second essay.)

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