On the Joys of Teaching First Year Composition

One of the real pleasures of teaching the first year composition courses is that I encourage students to choose their own topics.  Being on the dreaded quarter system, we teach three levels of first year composition (the first two are required for most students, while the third is required for transfer students):

Comp I: Students will be submitting their informative researched essays tomorrow. Topics range from What is up with NASA? to Why the latest Vocaloid is Cool to How the history of tea houses intersects with political revolution. There are also at least two papers on Zombies that I’m truly looking forward to reading.

Comp II: Students will be submitting their researched exploratory argument essays next week. Topics range from Are fathers necessary? to Why has Harry Potter causes such a ruckus in literacy studies? to Is separation of church and state truly viable?

Comp III: Students are working on their extended researched essays, and have just submitted their formal outlines in anticipation of drafting their essays this week. Topics range from What roles do angels play in various religions and cultures? to How has US action and influence, guided by current foreign policy, affected our citizens and the developing nations involved? to Has the way society treats transgendered people changed, and if so, it is enough?

As one student put it today, I must be great at party small talk after reading a batch of essays on such a variety of topics.

I’m looking forward to reading and learning, but evaluating/grading–not so much.  I plan to stock up on tea, gin and cookies for the next few weeks.

Grading Hell

So, my old office is now all packed, and at this point uninhabitable since boxes take up every free spot.  My new office won’t be ready for a few more weeks, but I’m excited about the move (I love the required purging that happens whenever I move, too).

I saved all the cartoons on my bulletin board, though only one of them may grace my new office door.  Here’s the one that’s been amusing my colleagues and students for over 3 years.  It’s even funnier in July when I am not facing a stack of student essays…

"Are you sure I didn't already grade a few of these?"

Be sure to visit Matthew Henry Hall’s website for more of his academic wit.