Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Sunday, February 04, 2007



This is just depressing.

I'm grading some projects that my students handed in last month. I should have graded them three weeks ago, but that's another story. I'm finally getting around to the grading process and my jaw is just hitting the floor here. I mean, I realized that most of these kids didn't put a whole hell of a lot of effort into my class, but these things go so much farther.

This was a unit on costume design. We talked about how costumes can give characters a sense of identity. We talked about how costumes can be used to illustrate relationships between characters. We talked about the use of color in costumes and what those colors say about the characters. The final project was to design costumes for characters in a one-page scene. The kids were working in pairs. I gave them, basically, two weeks of time in class to get these done.

Almost every single one of these projects seems to have been done on the day it was due. Some of them look like they actually talked a little about the project in the time I gave them. Others don't appear to have read the scene. Still others don't--from what I can tell--have the slightest fucking idea what a costume is.

I've got one class completely graded. I've got three more to go and I honestly don't know if I should bother. It would be a favor to these kids to just declare the unit a failure--I apparently did something utterly wrong here, 'cause the kids just did not grok the concepts--and throw this grade out. This project will drag some of their grades even pathetically lower. Add to that the fact that to slog through the rest of these is going to be absolutely fucking torturous to me. Every time a kid doesn't seem to have grasped the fact that a certain character is a woman, it's like a fucking knife in my heart.

Hell, I did this unit because I thought it would be easy for them! What the hell is wrong with them? What the hell is wrong with me that I can't communicate the simple idea that, if you put two characters in similar colors, the audience will connect them? Maybe I need to try something simpler, like having them correctly distinguish a shoe from a shirt. Or maybe I should just sit up at the front of the class and read a newspaper while the little buggers run amok. It would be about as rewarding.

Aaaarrgh, says I.

Kids suprise you. It may not always be a good surprise, but they surprise you just the same.

You did your best. Someday your students will return the favour.
I don't think most people (let alone kids) ever put that much thought into costumes. I don't.

But I'm sure we could work out some extra credit, right? wink wink.
Maybe you could have piqued their interest more by having them design costumes for Hair.
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