Monday, October 10, 2005

beg, beg, whine, whine

Today's hallway encounter with some students included the following gems:

"Teacher, my grammar isn't so good! Are you going to take off points for mistakes in my story?"*

"Teacher, can I have one more day to write my paper?"

Man, it's 1993 all over again: I'm reliving my past. The above questions are exactly the kind I used to get from my American high schoolers back when I was teaching French in Arlington, Virginia.

The high school seniors currently taking our Freshman English classes are perfecting The Whine. For those of you who have teens, you know what The Whine is: the behavior starts at home, then moves into a scholastic context, and is merely a modified form of an old set of childhood behaviors. The idea behind The Whine is both to wheedle something out of you and to make you feel guilty for not providing whatever the "something" is.

FYI: I had no trouble saying "yes" to the first question and "no" to the second. Two years in the high school teaching furnace made me deaf to the screams of damned souls. Once you've been dropped into the lake of fire, the only way out is to swim out yourself.

Eddie Izzard was wrong. It's cake and death.

*This refers to an assignment I gave my students on Thursday: write a one-page, single-spaced alternative ending to Frankenstein.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"For those of you who have teens"

Huh...What about those of us who have 11 year old daughters? Does that mean that her whine will progressively get worse as she grows older? Strangely enough, she only whines to Mom (but I get to hear it), never to me.