My former classmate Lucia Galloway Dick tells me that she’s going to read about my teaching experience here, so I thought I would post my latest and greatest trial. Please write and commiserate if you have this experience.

My students don’t write!!!

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let me explain. Today, I graded nine papers from one of my Freshmen Composition papers. That may sound okay until I tell you that there are 19 students enrolled in the class. I have tried everything to prevent this from happening again – this sloughing off of students like so many layers of dead skin – I don’t take late work; I tell them they’ll fail if they don’t turn in a paper; I tell them that they’re all smart and deserve A’s if they will but earn them; I play nonchalant; I play overly committed. Nothing works!!!!

My father, a wise, wise man, has always told me that you can’t motivate anyone (and he would know – he taught community college, as I do, for many years), but still I try. I want them to care; I want that so much. I want them to understand what being articulate can do for them; I want them to be able to convince other people that they are right; I want people to see them, in writing, for the smart, compassionate, intelligent people I know them to be. I want all of this, and I cannot in any way make them want it, too. It’s sad . . . very, very sad.

So if you have brilliant ideas (which I’d probably already tried but am willing to try again), please let me know. Or if you just want to bemoan this lack of interest, please use this forum. I could use the company in my shallow pit of misery.