Thursday, January 05, 2017

joyous screw-ups

Don't get me wrong. It's important for me to be a sympathetic teacher and do my best to boost my students's esteem. I really do try to be a nice guy, because I really do root for my students and want them to have all the success in the world. True, I have to suppress my snarky tendencies in order to do this (and I'm also trying to tamp them down in real life), but it's worth it. Whenever one of my former students comes up and thanks me for my class, it makes the rest of the day shiny.

However, all of the snarkiness cannot always be held in check. It's one of the worst kept secrets in the university that whenever two or more teachers gather, they tend to either talk about bad teaching evaluations or hilarious student mistakes.

Take typos in essays, for instance. Spell check helps with a lot of things, but typos will still slip through because your computer just isn't smart enough to tell whether you mean 'their' or 'there.' These kind of slip-ups are, however, understandable and thus not all that funny.

Other errors, though, can be quite hilarious. Up until today, my favorite typo of all time was when a student said something "was being taken for granite." Not anymore, though. For, as I prepared sample student papers for my new semester students, I ran across this gem: "...technologies designed to help students out in cretin subjects."

I love it when teaching makes me smile, and some days, I'll take that joy however I can get it.

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