Okay, so this semester I am teaching Children’s Literature, a class for which the reading is, to put it extremely mildly, “light”. FFS, one of the goddam books on the motherfucking reading list is Flotsam, which doesn’t even have any words.
Naturally, this poses some challenge to slackers because the reading can actually often be done in the 10 minutes per week they appear to allocate for it. This week, however, we were doing the kickass awesome novel by Kate DiCamillo, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, which, if you have a child and have not read it, you must immediately go and get, and even if you don’t have a kid, you should still read it. I wasn’t sure about this book, but my spawn and her teacher raved about it, so I read it, and they were not wrong.
(Slight aside here to say that I have childhood trauma from the Velveteen Rabbit, and so any book that has even a teeny tiny Velveteen Rabbit vibe is a book I will not normally go near for any money, and the words “toy rabbit gets lost” really did make me hugely hesitant. However, this book is the book the Velveteen Rabbit should have been, so much so, that it may have eased my pain.)
Anyway, to return to my despicable slackers, none of these assholes had bothered to read the book, like even cracked it open, even though it would have taken the slowest of them no more than 3-4 hours to read. “Fine,” I said. “We were going to discuss it today, but I shall just make it the topic of the essay portion of the exam.” Take that, slack-jawed yokels.
I am not going to give them easy questions, either. The questions will contain words of many syllables, require examples from the text, or may simply be cryptic. For one of them, I am thinking of going with “Why a warthog?” Feel free to add suggestions of utter meanness in the comments.
So, that half of the class was a wash. The other thing I had planned was a peer review of their drafts of their final projects – which was writing a children’s story. I had said, several times, that they needed a draft of their words, so we could talk about age-appropriate vocab and similar. “Don’t worry about pictures, but you must have your text”. Yes, yes.
So how many of them had a draft? Oh, you know, half a dozen. The rest of them were desperately scribbling any old bullshit while I looked at the drafts by the people who had thrown 15 minutes at the task. But hey, guess what? It was worth actual MARKS. Quite aside from the fact that getting help with the draft might help with the finished product … OMG who am I kidding?
I gave a bunch of them zero, which felt quite awesome.