Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Here We Go Again

After taking a semester off from teaching, last spring, I eased back into it with a summer creative writing class. I only got thrown that welcome bone because the two "real" creative writing professors don't want to teach in the summer. Yeah. No kidding. I remember that life. Getting paid during the leisurely summer, back at that real job I had.

But, whining aside, I was very grateful for that class. First of all, there were only nine students enrolled, and they were all women. We started out with 10 students, including 1 guy who was too much of a wussie to read his writing out loud. (Duh. It's a writing workshop.) So he bolted. I'd had him in class before, and I can truly say I have never met a student with less ambition. I was glad to see him go. THEN we had eight weeks of incredibly good writing workshops. I gave them somewhat personal topics to write about and they eagerly sunk their teeth in. For instance, "Please write 800 words on this: If you could get inside any one person's head, what would you try to find out, and what do you think THEY would want you to find out." Their chosen subjects ranged from "my biological mother who gave me up" to "my dog" to "my lazy boyfriend" to "my father who hasn't spoken to me in twenty years" to "my yogi." The lazy boyfriend, by the way, was the guy who dropped the class.

Two of my students were 40 years old, and every person in the class was motivated and creative and someone I was thankful to have crossed paths with. I'd had to miss the first week of the summer session, staying in Indiana after my sister's husband was killed. I was very glad to be with my sister that extra week, but by the time I got back to Phoenix (hey...that could be a song) I was desperately in need of some combination of work and rejuvenation. Meeting with those 9 women twice a week was the perfect mix. It also helped that it was an evening class, allowing me to hole up at home during the days and sneak out to see other humans at night. The whole thing was the answer to a prayer. Actually it was the answer "no." Because I'd prayed that the class, very under-enrolled, would be cancelled. I didn't think I'd be able to walk into a classroom in June, for many reasons. Many versions of loss.

God said "You're teaching it. Buck up."

Enter: fall semester. Back to my regular assignment, Freshman Composition. I won't go into my love/detest relationship with it. You've heard it all before. I'll just give you a little classroom exchange.

There's a painfully good looking boy in the class. 18 years old, sparkly blond hair, beautiful blue eyes with a startling glassy look about them. Matthew. The girls stare at him like he's a puppy who will at any moment lick him widdle paw and make them all eek with pleasure. Or at least that's how they were looking at him before he spoke.

I gave the class their first assignment, asking them to write a paper representing themselves through six objects. At some point I said "Literarily speaking, this will be a short autobiography. So please, exert some effort. Breathe some life into it. Don't make me think you're just another cog."

Matthew spoke: Wow...you just made up like two words that aren't even words.

Me: Really? And what were they?

Matthew (struggling): That "litterree" word, for one.

Me: I see. And what was the other one?

Matthew (giggling almost to the point of releasing a snort): Ha ha, "cog." Who ever heard the word "cog!"

27 Comments:

  • At 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    So glad you're back teaching. You're one "cog" we need in our wheel. (Snorkle, snorkle...like anyone's ever heard of a "wheel"...he he he.
    Anita

     
  • At 2:29 PM, Anonymous Scott P said…

    I'd say that he's not wheel smart, that one.

     
  • At 4:47 PM, Blogger Citlali said…

    holy SHIT. woah. instant dumb blonde joke. cool. = ]

     
  • At 9:19 PM, Blogger Jenni said…

    It's funny, but it scares the shit out of me.

     
  • At 12:46 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Anita...well, for the moment, I'm stuck in the wheel.
    Wait, what is a wheel again?

     
  • At 12:48 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Citlali. Yes. Yes.

    Jenni, it IS scary. But on the bright side, once you send your home schooled children off to college, teachers like me will adore them and their off-the-scale verbal scores. This I know.
    So just be glad that you will comfort us indirectly.

     
  • At 9:01 AM, Blogger c . . . said…

    okay, so i can understand not knowing those words ... if you never read anything and didn't come from a family that talked or read or watched much other than America's Funniest Home Videos ...

    What I *can't* understand is jumping to the conclusion that the fact that *you* haven't heard a word before must mean that it's made up because, well, you couldn't possibly occur to you that you might have a smaller vocabulary than your professor ...

     
  • At 9:04 AM, Blogger Mel said…

    Heh. Hehe heheh. You said *cog*. Hehe hehe...

    He's pretty. He don't have to be shmart!*

    *Is what he thinks, I'm sure. If by thinking I mean having a slight, cool, electrical impulse located somewhere in the region of his heretofore useless forebrain, that is.

     
  • At 1:23 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    c...
    My thoughts exactly. I can't even imagine, back in undergrad, telling a professor he or she had just made up a word.

    Poor little blondie will be missed. He's in the trunk of my car.

     
  • At 1:24 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Heh..."slight, cool electrical impulse."

     
  • At 5:09 PM, Anonymous futuresis said…

    You and your silly little made-up words! My goodness, what will you come up with next?

     
  • At 9:35 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    I have no idea what's next, futuresis! I'll work on a new pyramid for cheer practice.

    I mean...

    IDK!

    OMG!

     
  • At 10:31 PM, Blogger prairie biker said…

    I just wanna know why you named the moron after me?

     
  • At 10:36 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Dude, that's really his name.

    Your purple haired daughter would've made mincemeat out of him.

     
  • At 9:25 PM, Anonymous Ana said…

    Those ones are nice on the sheets but ya gotta drug um so's they don't speak.

    OR

    "Ooooooh, that was great." Rolls over. Smiles. Admires glassy blue eyes and tussled blonde hair.
    "Snarfblatt flaggle flaggle horket peen."
    "NOOOOO. I told you. NO TALKING!!! Bad! You aren't getting that cookie. No stinkin' way. Bad! Dammit."

     
  • At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Ana said…

    The only thing worse than stupid is bad breath.

     
  • At 9:34 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    You are so right on the bad breath.

    For me, that's tied with arrogance.

    Oh, and this kid had a lot of that. But I'm doubtful he had bad breath. I think his head was as hollow as a Pez dispenser.

     
  • At 9:53 PM, Anonymous Ana said…

    Pez resents that.

     
  • At 6:08 PM, Blogger LD said…

    hee hee...cog

     
  • At 7:26 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Tee hee. Indeed.

     
  • At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a maroon! Cogs are a kind of wooden shoe with fabric straps that you wear to the shower. This guy will never get to be CEO of Washington Mutual. (Or will he?)

     
  • At 1:35 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Not a CEO. But an underwear model with that gorgeously blank Calvin Klein look in his eyes.

     
  • At 6:04 PM, Blogger Jenni said…

    Hey Candy, just wanted to let you know that I linked from my blog to your "lessons for a Friday" post re. Hankie and his terrifying turd incident.

    The moral of that story just stays with you. Which strikes me as especially appropriate.

     
  • At 7:21 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Thank you! I haven't been able to keep up with my blog reading lately, from traveling, and it's driving me batty.

     
  • At 12:37 PM, Blogger Jerry said…

    You should have said,"Oh you know what cog means; it's what your prison husband is going to use on you when your sentenced for being dumb at a felony level."

    And,"Literree, that's someone who gets sentenced to a month for throwing beer cans out the window of the car. A literree gets the cog in his cell at night."

     
  • At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sounds perfect to me.

    MRBill

     
  • At 11:21 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Ah, Mr. Bill. If only YOU were in my class.

     

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