Delete, Backspace, Repeat

When I return my students’ papers to them today via email, most of them will quickly scroll to the bottom of the screen to find their grade. What they won’t find are the comments and exclamations of disbelief that ricocheted around my apartment this week. They will see my suggestions on how to improve grammar, sentence structure, and organization but they will not see the battered surface of my Delete and Backspace keys, worn smooth with repetitive tapping. While my bitching made Mr. Dingo laugh, I’m sure that sharing those unrefined first impressions with my students would not be conducive to a positive and enriching learning environment.

Deep ThoughtsBut really, how would you have responded to statements like these?

Loneliness makes you feel as if you are all alone by yourself.
This is very insightful! I had never thought of this before. But aren’t you overlooking group loneliness? I know that it’s group loneliness that brings me down. And my friends, too.

When ww 1 was fought in the United States….
Yes, after the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, tried to seize the throne of King of Prussia, PA he was repelled at the border of Staten Island. The abolitionists celebrated their victory at the Boston Tea Party with fireworks and that, my dear, was the shot heard around the world.

When it comes to the structure and operation of family life the author hit the nail on the head of a dysfunctional family.
OUCH!! Sounds to me like the author might have issues of his own.

So, how did I respond? Diplomatically, delicately, Delete, Backspace. There were, however, diamonds among the coals and, overall, the quality of the papers has improved over the course of the semester. I wish I could say as much about their email communication:

Remind me never to look at a poem again…analyzing poems are hard…..=( (sorry, just my personal opinion hope you’re not offended)
Of course I’m not offended. What was I thinking? College should be easy! Thank you, by the way, for the poor grammar and punctuation. Thank you also for the stunning self-portrait. As I always say… a picture are worth a thousands word…………

I am sorry I was out of class for the past few classes. I have allergies. Did I miss anything important?
Yes, you missed the commercials telling you that Zyrtec is now available over the counter.

My fiancee as you know is fighting in Iraq and we were blessed to receive hes redeployment letter, meaning he was coming home. I have to go to Kansas to pick him up. I won’t be in class for a while.
Um, redeployed means that he’s going back to Iraq. Sorry Dorothy, I don’t think he’s in Kansas anymore. You won’t be in class for a while? Are you mailing yourself to Kansas?

My favorite email communication of the semester came from a student who was a pain in the ass from the day he sauntered into class with his Jack Kerouac paperback sticking out of his backpack with the Nietzsche bumper sticker. He would sigh, roll his eyes, and shake his head in condescension whenever anyone in the class would speak. This put a damper on the good times. One thing you do not do in my class is put a damper on the good times. I mean, what is a good horror fiction class about if not terror, fear, blood, and good times?

Jackass Kareless brought his arrogant attitude to his writing. Prior to turning in his paper he informed me that he is an excellent thinker and philosopher and he felt that proper grammar and adherence to the rules of writing are unnecessary. Apparently his grade wasn’t to his liking because I received the following email from him within twenty minutes of sending his paper to him:

Thanks for the bad grade and wasting my time.

When I got over my shock at the audacity of such a response (which, by the way, didn’t happen until I made Mr. Dingo look at my computer screen about twenty times as I asked, “Did he really just send a ‘fuck you’ email?” Each time Mr. Dingo confirmed that yes, I had in fact received a “fuck you” email) I typed a scathing rebuke. And then hit Delete.

Funny, he hasn’t been back to class since then. I suppose he’s off philosophizing somewhere. The class dynamic has changed for the better since he dropped the course. It was with glee that I placed the cursor over his name in my attendance chart and hit Delete, Delete, Delete.