Sunday, January 29, 2006

So Many Problems...

I’ve been buried beneath a heaping pile of final exams, and in addition to the incredible time crunch (I gave the tests on Thursday and Friday, and the semester grades are due on Tuesday), I’ve run into another snag. The sophomore essay topic seemed innocuous enough – James Baldwin once said that identity is shaped by experience and how one handles it, and the kids were to discuss the ways in which this holds true in The Odyssey, Black Boy, and in their own lives.

After reading fifty or so of the products, I find myself dreading the final paragraphs – the ones about the personal experiences. I've been completely blindsided by the deluge of scary, heavy, and heartbreaking stuff they're pouring into the Blue Books. I was expecting traumatic pet deaths, you see, and football losses. What I’m getting is far more weighty. In fact, I find myself feeling relieved for the kids who “only” have divorces and grandparents' funerals to overcome.

I’ve come to the conclusion that adolescence really sucks, and the depth of the suckiness makes it really tough to follow through with my plan to slap grades on the exams, skip the comments, and never hand them back.


jdoc said...

I tried to tell the story of you grading your papers at a party Saturday night and I just sounded like a totally callous bitch as I laughed at the situation you were in. Laughter is very close to tears, I told them.

LH said...

those blue books sound like stressful reading. they really point to the power of do...something. Make us ponder our painful plights? Perhaps.

Hope you're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.