Ancrene Wiseass

A would-be medievalist holds forth on academia, teaching, gender politics, blogging, pop culture, critters, and whatever else comes her way.

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Yes, this really is yet another blog by a disillusioned grad student. I sympathize, but that's just the way it has to be. For hints as to what my bizarre alias means, click here and here and, if needed, here and here. To get a sense of what I'm up to, feel free to check out the sections called "Toward a Wiseass Creed" and "Showings: Some Introductory Wiseassery" in my main blog's left-hand sidebar. Please be aware that spamming, harassing, or otherwise obnoxious comments will be deleted and traced.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

It (almost) endeth

So. I feel like a real person for the first time in about, oh, I dunno. Some weeks. It's like I can see colors again.

What's my secret?

Apparently, I actually slept well last night. Why last night of all nights, I cannot explain. But I am not going to question it, either. I'm just damn grateful.

The last discussion meeting of Comp Class: Impossible was today. I'll see them once more, for the exam on Thursday.

They were the same old inimitable group. Even while I was giving them explicit advice on how to take the final exam and offering tips on exam-week preparation more generally, many of them looked like they were ready to roll their eyes heavenward at any moment. Ah, the darlings.

I did, finally, get a halfway decent response out of them on Till We Have Faces, though Mr. Disloyal Opposition felt he had to explain at some length that he had always liked the protagonist (who creates some very rocky times for herself and several others, but is redeemed in the end) all along, and had never thought her behavior was selfish at all. This despite my distinctly remembering that he and many other members of the class said otherwise last week. And, I might add, despite it being quite obvious that Lewis wishes us to understand his protagonist is selfish at times.

But Mr. Disloyal Opposition, he is never wrong. Or, at the very least, he is always much more right than I am. And he must make that very clear to all of us whenever he gets a chance, the poor thing.

Ms. Entitlement asked me questions she'd asked before--and which I'd answered before--about the last paper assignment. They are questions, in fact, which were answered by the assignment sheet itself. I suspect she was trying to "participate" in the last class, so as to make a "good impression" right before I assign grades.

I had to explain twice--because someone wasn't paying attention the first time--that there would not be an answer key for the practice exam (yes, that's right, folks: I gave my students a practice version of the exam, and yes, I am an utter creampuff) because I gave them a practice exam to help them begin reviewing on their own.

I asked the students to volunteer the passages I'd directed them to look up at the end of our last meeting, and about a third of them looked at each other, right in front of me, and smirked that lopsided, "yeah,-I-didn't-do-it,-either"smirk. Another quarter looked confused and stricken. Most of the rest simply remained impassive. Two or three students had page numbers to offer, so we made do with that.

Honestly, I find that I'm becoming almost nostalgic about them already. Taken together, they're so stereotypically bad that they're actually kind of funny.

That's even true for Mr. Disloyal Opposition and Ms. Entitlement, the one thinking he's profoundly original when his role's been enacted just as unconvincingly by a dozen different students in my experience already, and the other thinking that asking insincere questions we both know I've already answered actually will bump up her participation grade because she's just that damned charming. Both of them thinking, all the while, that I'm incredibly gullible while they are devilishly clever.

Alas for the follies of our youth.