Homework

I had one-on-one meetings with my freshmen students today, in preparation of an essay due on Monday. Most of them seemed to be suffering from lack of motivation and a desire to be allowed to do whatever they want; one argued that his essays did not have to be based in reality because the point of writing was to get people’s attention, which was easier to do with sweeping generalizations and speculation and semi-sexual metaphor. Another (currently failing) student brought in the last essay, almost two weeks late. He said, by way of excuse: “I’m a little too into the party scene.” I said: “Well, then, it’s a question of priority. Do you want to party for the rest of your life?”

He said yes, he wished he could. Why can’t you? I asked. Well, I’ve gotta do this, he said, indicating his error-riddled essay. Not really, I said. You could always get a crap job and do nothing.

“Nah,” he said, the look of shock wavering momentarily on his face and then disappearing “I want to get a good job so I can really party.”

To that end, I explained why possessives need apostrophes and why writing looks terrible without adherence to such signposts. He seemed to listen intently.

My last student came and found me after completely missing his appointment. “I keep running into your brother,” he said “Man, he is big. I think I need to study more in your class.”

Debauchary and bodily threat. It’s so nice to finally find some way to motivate today’s youth.

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9 thoughts on “Homework

  1. Hey, Teacher? Will you please answer a question? Is it ever the case that a prepositional object doubles as an indirect object or direct object? Don’t laugh.

  2. Anonymous,

    (or should I say snark?)

    I’m not sure what you mean, and I think it depends on what you mean. Are you thinking of cases where indirect objects follow prepositions, e.g. “I gave the grade to John”? Or are you thinking of ambiguous sentences like “I watched the prisoner from the tower”?

  3. Teacher,

    I don’t know what a “snark” is. Do tell.

    My question arises from a somewhat sharp discussion I had with someone who insists that prepositional objects are not indirect objects and indirect objects are not prepositional objects since each is a *different* part of a sentence. I know what is meant, of course, but I attempted to reason that in some instances, an object can be a prepositional object AND an indirect object at the same time.

    I apologize for being so stupid.

  4. Anonymous,

    I can’t think of any examples where this would be true. There are words in English that double as particles and prepositions (and other things) and there are constructions that seem ambiguous, but this does not mean that the objects of these words/constructions themselves have dual duty in sentences

  5. On the subject of turning things in late: I have a recurring dream (one of three I experience) in which I find I have not only neglected to write any of the papers for a class I am taking, but that I have neglected to attend any of the classes. The abject terror I undergo, learning I am going to fail, is remarkable. When it happened at college I would have to wake up, climb down from my loft, and go check my schedule online to make sure I wasn’t scheduled for the class.

    I’m a little crazy.

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