Saturday, September 18, 2010

Reading Student Essays . . . Again

It's that time of the year and I'm back to reading student essays. The most hilarious thing so far was the reference to "Jewish programs that took place in Europe in the XIV century." After I read three essays discussing these "Jewish programs", I finally figured out that my students were referring to Jewish pogroms. I never thought such a tragic topic would ever make me laugh as hard as it did.

There has been a good surprise among these essays, though: I discovered a student who is a talented writer. It's great to see somebody who is so stylistically gifted by nature. I even feel a little jealous.

This is the third semester in a row I'm teaching this trademark course of mine on Hispanic civilization. Every new group of freshmen (it's a freshman course) is better than the previous one. Every semester I discover that I need to make review questions, exams and quizzes more difficult than the ones I used last semester. Every time, the questions they ask me get more incisive and harder to answer. Sometimes, I want to stop and ask: "Did you just ask me this? How on Earth did you think of asking me this?" So to those who like to bemoan the stupidity and the lack of intellectual curiosity in today's teenagers I can only answer that they have no idea what they are talking about.

And in what concerns "Jewish programs," the first semester I taught this course there were lists and lists of similar bloopers which I published on this blog. This time, the "Jewish programs" have been the only real mistake fnny enough to post.


human said...

Students have a gift for making unfunny things hilarious. One of my favorites was the time a student wrote that when smallpox hit, the Aztecs had a 95% immortality rate.

Justin said...

..."95% immortality rate."

I just spat coffee all over my netbook.

Clarissa said...

Justin: I know, I laughed like crazy too.

I don't remember if you read this blog when this was published, but if not, here are some fun posts about previous genius essays by mu students:

Gosh, I love my students.