Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tiny Little Elves

As teachers it’s dangerous to assume that our students are not listening to what we say. Don’t be fooled by their playstation/MTV-aged stares and text message conditioned grunts. They are in fact half listening, which, my friend, is far more damaging.

Take for example, Jack Wilcox; he decided that the topic of his research paper would focus on the Romantic elements found in the works of Washington Irving.

Mr. Wilcox’s efforts basically boiled down to this: he was determining whether Irving’s efforts, work by work, should be classified as Romanticism or not, based on a single criteria—did the story involve “tiny little elves?”

Now, in his defense I did referred to such a thing, when I presented the elements of the American Romanticism movement. I said that it was common for many works during this period to contain aspects of the supernatural. Plots could be propelled through mystical means; “characters could be other worldly, spirits, tiny little elves, if you will.”

Oh, I don’t know exactly what happened. I was just trying to reinforce what to be on the look-out for. I guess in between staring at my female students’ chests and trying to remember if he put his pot back in his holed out 3rd grade karate trophy that he mistook “tiny little elves, if you will” for “you will write about tiny little elves.” Again, I’m only speculating.

You’ll be happy to know that Rip Van Winkle made the cut; as did The Devil and Tom Walker, but only because it had the Devil and he, quote, “practically invented elves.” Yes, “’practically’.”

Sorry, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, “the closest thing in that story is a horse.”

The jury is still out on Little Britain. It seems, “there’s something about ghosts, but [he] didn’t finish it. It was boring.”

I guess the best thing to do is to offer the chance to do a rewrite for reduced credit. I mean miscommunication is miscommunication. Though I’m still not sure why he cited The Gummi Bears.

If I could speak for the half-full glass; at least he didn’t plagiarize.

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