Saturday, September 17, 2011

A brief moment in ENGL 101:

I’m gesturing to a projector screen that shows a month’s worth of assignments and begin an announcement. “Hey everyone, I’ve put the reading assignments on the online calendar, so…”
“I love your accent,” a student interrupts from the back.
“Your accent. It’s cool,” she says.
I click the top of my dry eraser marker open and closed, open and closed. “Accent? What do you mean?”
“Like when you say calendar.” Other students nod in agreement.
Students laugh.
“See?” she says.
“No. How do you say it?”
“Yeah," I say, "calendar.”
“No, we’re saying it exactly the same way. Calendar.”
“No, you say it Kaaaaayyle-ender.”
“That’s what you said.”
“No, we’re saying, cahhhlendar.”
“Oh. I see. So, if you draw your attention to our cahhhhlender...”

This is funny because the only other time I’ve ever been told I had an accent, I was also in Washington. My cousin Kali was making fun of the way I pronounced her name. I didn’t see a different then either. I mean, I understand how they say they pronounce it and how they say I pronounce it, but when they actually say it, it sounds exactly the same to me.  

Well anyway, the school week is over and it’s finally cooling down a little here—today was a chilly seventy degrees! This morning, I drove to Post Falls, Idaho for an English Department retreat and was greeted by a chilly, gray morning. I can’t figure out why, but cloudy days always seem to put me in a good mood. I know it’s the opposite for most people, but there is something comforting about a day like today. The world feels a little bit smaller or something, as if a big blanket has been stretched out over the city and we’re just curling up to watch an old movie.

I just collected two classes worth of essays and they are just in time to spoil our first weekend with internet. INTERNET! It should be here tomorrow, which when I post this, will be “today,” making any previous mentions of today actually yesterday. Ya know? This is why one should always have internet, so they never end up explaining the art of time travel.

Joe starts classes next week, and that will put our lives a little more into the “routine” category. And in 14 days (13 if you’re reading this tomorrow, which is really today because it won’t be up until then) I will get my first paycheck!  We will have at least enough to pay the bills. And then, who knows? We might go crazy and buy a toilet bowl brush. Or, I don’t know, trash bags. If we’re really feeling wasteful, we might even splurge on some dryer sheets.

This post is a little unorganized. I spent this morning grading English entrance and exit exams. If I were grading this post on the English Department’s scale of 1 to 5 (5 being clearly competent and 1 being not competent), I might give this post a 2: not competent. While the ideas are clearly a 5 (strong and lively, right?), there is a definite lack of organization and paragraph unity (1). And, I can’t know for sure because I woke up at six-thirty and it’s pretty late now, but I assume there are plenty of undecipherable sentences, numerous mechanical, usage, diction and sentence errors (1). And, there is no reference to the assigned reading (1).

The only thing I can’t decide on is the voice. I’m torn between giving myself a 5 (consistent and original) or a 2 (unclear, inconsistent, and inappropriate).

Or maybe the voice is a 3: generic with occasional clichés? I do talk about the weather a little. That’s a bit overdone in writing.

So, that settles it:  5, 1, 1, 1, 3, which I will average out to a 2 because a 3 is passing, and I’m clearly not passing. I can’t even pronounce the word calendar.


  1. I'm shocked and a little offended by this post. You know what reading you're going to assign to your classes A MONTH IN ADVANCE??!!

  2. Haha, don't worry Chanomi, it's only because we're reading a novel. :)

  3. Oh, and I'm also a little pissed that you have an online calendar. Yer makin' us look bad, Cynthia!

  4. It's clearly a 3, Cynthia. Even if it would require a strongly worded suggestion that the author get some assistance with outlining. At least that's what I would tell my students. If they could figure out how to write in present tense. Maybe someday.


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