Tuesday, December 14, 2004

final exam nightmares

You know that final exam nightmare you have, even well into your post-school life -- the one where you're late for a big exam, but it's in a course you've never attended, in some impossibly abstruse subject, taught by a professor who speaks a language you do not understand?

Well, after staying up til 12:30 last night grading Mythology final exam essays, I came to realize that, for a fair number of students, I am their nightmare.

And they are mine.

It can be a horrifying experience to take that first blue book off the top of the stack, and find in it only mangled and twisted parts of ideas and a few disfigured facts -- as if your lectures had been recovered from some ghastly car wreck. Could I really have said that? Essays like those make you wonder whether you've got early-onset Alzheimer's and have just been babbling incoherently every MWF from 9-9:50 a.m.

But a few blue books later you find that most of them got it, and some even have smart, interesting, and funny things to say. Whew.

Back to the blue book mines . . .

Update: My wife remindes me that my student's nightmare description is incomplete: "you forgot the part where you realize you’re nekkid." Hmmm. A lot of my students are showing up for morning classes in pajamas (really!). Maybe it's only a matter of time . . . depending on what they were doing the night before.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

My nightmare is that the anti-intellectual, anti-literate faction of American life will finally drown out the few intelligent voices and we will experience a pogrom against people who live by their brains, not by their loud voices. The Chinese experience shows that it's not impossible.