Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Students Today

Here is a generally depressing article I found while trolling through other people's blogs. There are, btw, a number of really fun ones...who knew for instance that J.J. Cohen posts article reviews of forthcoming articles on his blog for comment or that there were cynical graduate student teachers? Ok, the last one is a given.

The article has a number of quite valid points and makes me a bit trepiditious to be teaching college next year -- I was kind of hoping that things might be different from teaching middle school. Though then I recalled today's lovely Beowulf class. There are (apparently) 5 undergraduates and me in the class. So one of them has not shown up since the mid-term exam...we all assumed he dropped, the professors spent a week wondering where he was...and then today I walk in and there sits X! Ready to translate and, presumably, taking the exam on Friday. Wow -- article confirmed to the nth degree. But the other undergrads in the class are really great. They had interesting observations about Beowulf today, were able to connect the course with their plans, offered a nice balance between academic reflections and personal reactions to the poem and so forth. And they've been uber-prepared all semester, pay careful attention to the text and ask questions such as how a word is pronounced in the Northumbrian dialect.

So a counterpoint to the above are those students who always say hello, chat after class, delve into the work and have plans for their lives.

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