Besides being a writer, I'm also a teacher of writing. And as a teacher of writing at a small liberal arts college, I generally have a pretty easy schedule. I teach twice a week, sometimes have to go to Wednesday meetings, and spend the rest of my time writing and hanging out with my family. But every now and then, I have a sustained period of the kind of work that's roughly analogous to the work of cleaning fish to the fisherman, or cleaning bathrooms to, well, a bathroom cleaner: grading papers.

Lots of them, actually. I'm coming off a weeklong binge on freshman writing the likes of which I only have to deal with once a year: 60 12-page essays in 7 days. I'm realizing now, looking back at my Facebook posts over the last few days, I'm realizing tat I'm pretty funny when I'm frustrated.


Words to live by, from my comments on a student's essay: "It's never good to start an essay with 'From the beginning of time…'"


On the downside of grading my biggest load of papers this year, and starting to get grumpy. I just started off my comments on a student's paper with, "First, you really need to learn how to spell my last name - you've misspelled it for every single draft you've turned in this academic year, despite the fact that I've corrected you each time."

And today:

I just told a student, "My primary concern is your secondary sources." Somehow, I've never used that one before.

[insert FB posts]

Am I becoming cynical? Like my cousin April, who just incessantly writes on FB about how miserable her life is but isn't really that miserable?

AuthorJohn Proctor