Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I have been grading research papers. I am learning so much. Some of them are even interesting. Some of them are helping me to learn patience. Some of them are telling me just how much attention my darlings actually pay to my written instructions, my examples on the board, and my sweet teacher voice as I entreat them to pay attention and do things the right way.

I know some of them have listened because they have actually written enough for 5 typed double spaced pages, have correctly documented 5 sources in their papers, have alphabetized those sources, and have indented the 2nd and 3rd lines on their entries on the source cited page. They used their thesis statement in the first paragraph. They tried to paraphrase and not plagiarize. They followed their outline. These students make me happy. The only problem is that there just aren't very many of these students.

Some of my students disappointed me. They had lots of time to work on this paper, and they could only come up with 2-3 pages of information. They wasted time. I had to let them so they would learn a valuable lesson. It is hard not to be on them all of the time when I know they are going to get themselves into trouble.

When they only put one line on every note card, I gave them credit but warned them that they might not have enough information. Did they listen? NO!!! But hey, what do I know I've only taught the research process for oh about 20 years.

Some tried to impress me with little information and pages of charts and graphics. I'm not that easily impressed.

Some made their margins at the top and bottom larger than 1". At least they all used size 12 and Times New Roman for their computer settings.

Computers are great...but students rely on them to correct all of the spelling and grammar errors. One example that I encounter frequently is that the computer does not know when you use there for their or were for where, etc. It always assumes that there uses a singular verb which is not true. Some things we just have to learn for ourselves. I am afraid that the majority of students aren't learning how to read and correct their mistakes.

Oh well, you can't stop progress. Our teachers worried that we weren't well enough prepared to make it in the world and we have so I guess I will trust that my efforts are not in vain and at least most of my students will be able to make it in the outside world.

Lord knows I've tried!!!!! For my seniors we only have 6 more classes then test. If they don't have it now, oops, I tried. Maybe they didn't but I did.


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