Tuesday, February 21, 2006

To edit or not to edit?

I've been editing source cards for research papers. You see, the students have to write down the source information on a card in proper MLA works cited format. And, naturally, I feel so sorry for the kids because MLA gets so confusing. There are so many rules to which they are not accustomed. Let's face it, teachers can't even agree on MLA formatting, so how are the kids supposed to survive the treacherous waters of MLA without a life raft?

That's where I come in. I myself can do proper MLA format in my sleep, especially when I have them coming up to my desk with their cards. The line gets so long that it reminds me of the line for the first showing of a George Lucas film. Tents, nerds in furry outfits laser sword fighting with one another, and what have you stretching around for blocks.

Well, one of my frequent fliers comes up (he tries so hard) and he is smiling because he is positive that his source cards finally meet MLA standards and he just wants to make sure I agree. He hands them to me, I start to read the first one, and then he yanks them out of my hand.

"Wait, I forgot something," as he places the card on the corner of my desk and attacks it with his pen. "There you go," as he turns them over, "I forgot to underline the 'e' in 'encyclopedia' three times."

I look at him, scrunched brow, as I take the cards and see that he has done just that.

"Uh--you see--I did that--previously--as a note to remind you that you needed to capitalize the letter. That's the symbol used in editing."

"Oh, okay--I'll go change it and get back in line."

"Don't do that. Just correct it for your final copy."

"Great! I'll do that! Thanks!" and off he went. Such excitement--and that's why I could sit down and do MLA with these guys all day.

Stop laughing at me.

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