Monday, October 27, 2008

No One Likes Blogs About Work

But that's too bad...you are getting one.

I used to bitch about my job because it was stupid...I didn't want to be there...and basically, I didn't give a flying fuck about it. I always did my best...but my heart wasn't there. That's when I was a paralegal. Legal derived from the Latin, "law" and "para" meaning "you are someone's bitch and do the work a monkey could do for the"

That job sucked in ways I can't possibly describe. I got paid thousands and thousands of dollars to photocopy, put papers in binders, and look at court calendars.

Once-in-awhile, when things were tough, I had to do this all in one day.

And don't even get me started on PowerPoint presentations or Excel spreadsheets. Man...I could merge a document like a mother fucker, too.

God...I hated that shit.

But...when I left work every day, you know what I thought about...NOT WORK. I didn't think about being a failure...I didn't think about not reaching people...and I didn't think about how I could make a difference in a life. Sometimes, I did think about where I might go to lunch the next day...and the lists, man. The lists! The "which attorney would I bone" lists. Those were priceless....especially since I only worked with male attorneys. I'm just kidding. No...I am. Really...now I have denied it too much.

But now, today, this week, this semester...something is creeping into my mind. It started as a tickle and a passing thought when I left work. Then it grew. I would think about it after class...then before...and now...now I think about it during:

I am a failure.

When you wake up and dread going to work because you know that you would prefer a kick in the balls to sitting in a chair all day and pretending like you do care...it's hard to fail.

When you wake up every day and wonder if this is the day your one student, who hasn't been able to write a complete sentence all semester, is going to stop smoking pot long enough to come to class without wake and baking...it's hard to succeed.

And it is killing me.

I want to peel back some of my students' skulls, spoon an ounce of vision into their psyches...and let them see what they are doing. How can a 22 year old not write a paragraph? And how could he not care?

So when I send out emails like this:

From: Mark Manasse
Subject: RE: English Meeting

So we reviewed 238 paragraphs on Friday, and 104 were considered "passing." That is a 44% pass rate. Ouch.



And I get this as a response:

From:
Subject: RE: English Meeting

I don't think you should feel bad about the pass rate at mid-semester. My glass-half-full perspective is that we have almost half of the students passing with 7 weeks to work on the rest. (Well, 6 and a half; but who's counting?) I also think that it's possible the prompt didn't elicit the best work from some students.


It makes me angry...so I write this:

From: Mark Manasse
Subject: RE: English Meeting

So, I thought about the pass rate some more, and you know what, I do feel bad!!!! After our grading session on Friday, I was pissed off the rest of the day. I didn't sleep that night. Half-empty...half-full...half-way through the semester or not, a 44% pass rate is atrocious. We need to think about why this happened instead of just chalking this up to a prompt or when they wrote it.

Last semester, there was a 60% pass rate for English --. 60%. Think about that. Four out of every ten students in your class right now...NOT PASSING. How does that feel?

Something needs to change. Something has to change. Be it our methods, our rubric, our training, our prompt, our student preparation...something.

Maybe feeling bad is a necessary step...I hope it is because I feel TERRIBLE.

M



And I come home...think about how things used to be...and search deep within my soul and wonder why the Hell I prefer the emotional turmoil to mindless grunt work. Because I am not a perfect person. I do want it not to hurt. I want it to be easy. I miss that monkey suit and monkey job from time-to-time.

I miss being endlessly infallible.

I miss my "bone" list.

But there's something to the wake and bake guy. I can see it. I can see that he can do it. I can see it even if he can't.

And I refuse to let him be a monkey.

I will not be his law firm.

9 comments:

Tauni said...

Insensitive retort.

I kid, I kid.....I don't know how you do it. I can't imagine trying to teach when people won't or don't try.

ann marie said...

Now that I'm back in school you know we're mortal enemies, right? Regardless . . . I used to be the wake and bake guy when I was an undergrad. Not necessarily "wake and bake", but I missed class more often than not. I was dumb kid trying to figure out my place in the world. My head wasn't in school at all. It's not that you're a failure or a bad teacher. The fact that you give a rat's ass proves that you're not.

ur fav student said...

tanks fer hepin me lern two right perfessor manassy!

tinaparker87 said...

Wow... did not know you were a teacher. You care and don't change that.

Remember they are 22. I was amazed when the 21 to 24 showed up for Gurujan on Sats.

Maccerz said...

Don't worry. You can still make a difference. Instead of a list of lawyers you want to bone, you can make a list of students you want to improve.

And bone.

Preferably they would be different lists.

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Anonymous said...

yeah.. interesting thoughts!