Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On Style.

I require that my students
write with style.

I don't care how they dress,
or how they address me.

They can bitch about grades,
water off a duck's back.

But they must write
with style & clarity.

I give them (not assign, mind you)
this book to read and use.

It has made my life remarkably easier,
as we all share the knowledge of that text.

When they prepare something for me
that does not meet my standards,

I simply send them back to the book,
and I refuse to take in work that is inelegant.

Some of them complain.
No matter.

Those that make it through,
have earned it.

Those that pass my class,
will excel elsewhere.

I've seen it proven.
I'm at peace with it.


  1. We all thought my freshman comp teacher was a real weirdo. He was a hard ass and we didn't really like him. He had a particular kind of arrogance that doesn't really bother me (if you are good and you know it, I don't find that arrogant), but it did add to the pressure. We hated his class. But within a few semesters I realized what I had learned from him. Even now, more than a quarter of a century later, I still think of that class.

    A few years ago I learned that he had passed away and I still regret that I never got around to thanking him.

  2. How do you do this for a class of 100?

    Legend has it that Henry Kissinger repeatedly returned a paper to a student, writing on it only, "Is this the best you can do?" After enough tries, his student said, "Yes! This is the best I can do!" Kissinger reportedly said, "Fine. I'll read it now." I couldn't get away with that. (But then, I couldn't get away with lots that old Hank has done.) What do you really do?

    Also, is your name really Dick Tingle?

  3. @Froderick

    I chose a job
    where I do not teach
    classes of 100.

  4. Oh well, how fortunate for you! As a direct result, what you seem to think is helpful is anything but, for plebians like me. Thanks a lot, Dick.

  5. Is there an option
    at your college
    to put copies of a book
    on reserve in a library?
    I'd think 1-2 copies
    purchased used even
    from half.com or Alibris
    might suffice.

    And if correct and elegant writing
    is such a central factor
    in your teaching,
    you might even consider
    adding a good style manual
    or handbook
    to your courses.

    That would certainly
    send a strong message
    to your students.

    As for class size,
    I regret that the amount
    of grading I need to do
    in my discipline
    prohibits large classes.

  6. After enough tries ... Kissinger reportedly said, "Fine. I'll read it now."

    Maybe it was a humanitarian concern.

  7. "After enough tries ... Kissinger reportedly said, "Fine. I'll read it now."

    Maybe it was a humanitarian concern."
    - CDP

    Explains the secret bombing of Cambodia, maybe his support of Indonesian murder squads in East Timor.


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