Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Vocabulary Nightmares and Final Dreams

Well, the end of the semester is near! I am currently in grading Hell, but I did it to myself. I gave deadlines too close together, so now I'm grading, not only vocabulary assignments, but also research papers, critical argument papers, and finals.
Many of my colleagues think I'm crazy because I format my finals in short answer and essay form. Many of my colleagues pride themselves on the multiple choice, scantron, finals, which makes it easy for the instructor, but it's like winning the lottery for the student--either you pick the right ones or you don't. I don't believe that multiple choice is a good assessment tool; therefore, I make them learn the information. Maybe that makes more work for me, but, overall, I'm proud of this decision.
I digress. The main point for this post is to share with my readers some of the things my students write about. I mentioned vocabulary assignments. Well, I gave my students a vocabulary assignment at the beginning of the semester. My Writing students had to come up with 50 over the course of the semester, and my Reading students had to come up with 100 (I am teaching two sections of each). Well, I learned my lesson. I did not tell them how many they had to turn in when, but I gave them a final deadline (Sunday 12/4 by midnight). I did it to myself. I reminded them weekly, but I held them to nothing, then I received a barrage of emails all day Sunday from those who decided to leave the assignment until the last minute. I have been grading so much vocabulary that I actually dreamed about vocab the other night--not to mention my dream about the final exams.
I am still grading vocabulary, and part of their assignment was to create new, original sentences from the words they defined. Some of the sentences are really quite amusing.
Here we go.

Word: Entrails
Sentence: My father had to get his entrails back.

Word: Solitary
Sentence: My mama kept me solitary from my pregnant friends because they're a bad influence in my life.

Word: Intoxicated
Sentence: An old man was intoxicated in the morning.

Word: Countenance
Sentence: The countenance of the person was funny when he fell in the dump.

Word: Damsel
Sentence: The girl looked old, but she was a damsel.

Word: Impale
Sentence: Needles are used to impale people's ears.

Word: Grapple
Sentence: The spy grappled himself.

This next one is funny because they had to tell me where they found/heard the word:
Word: Debt
Source: Myself
Sentence: I overdrew my credit card, so I was in debt.
**Needless to say, this student did NOT get credit for this word.

I actually thought I would have gathered more today, but they were pretty good. Vocabulary is finally done! I think I only have one more log to grade! Yay!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Weekend of Weirdos

In an attempt to take a break, not only from grading horrendous research papers, but also from thinking about this person who has been avoiding me all weekend, I'm going to try to reflect on some of the weird patrons I had the pleasure of waiting on this weekend.

1. Birthday Girl. I approach a 3-top (girl: approximately 20-ish, guy: approximately 20-ish, and woman: over 50-ish). They are friendly, and I ask the woman what she would like to drink. She replies with "Today's my birthday!"
Miss: Happy Birthday! Don't worry about us embarrassing you--we don't do that around here.
Lady: That's okay! Guess how old I am!
Miss: You're beautiful! I couldn't possibly guess!
Lady: [goading] Guess!
Miss: Really, I don't think I could possibly--
Lady: Guess! [points to girl] This is my granddaughter.
Miss: Well, I really don't know! Hmmm...55?
Lady: [beaming] ...65!
Miss: You are gorgeous! Happy Birthday!

$3 on $43 -- Great...

2. 2-top: Mom and son. Son is older, approximately 18/19. They are a little funny--weird.
Miss: Can I get you started with something to drink?
Mom: Do you have sweet tea?
Miss: Sorry, we only have unsweetened tea.
Mom: What about Raspberry?
Miss: Sorry, we only have unsweetened tea.
Mom: [chuckling] Oh, you just said that.
Miss: That's okay.
We work out the drinks, and I return to take their order.
Miss: Are you all set to order?
Mom: Well, I only get one thing when I come here, and I can't remember if it's enchiladas or the chimichanga (sp).
Miss: Well, since we don't have chimichangas, I'd have to say it's probably enchiladas.
This is only funny because they are regulars whom I've waited on before, and she took quite a bit of time with the menu. You'd think that if we offered chimichangas, they would be on the menu.

3. 4-top: All older women.
Miss: Ladies, can I get you started with drinks?
Woman: I need a large, large, large, large water, and extra, extra, extra lemons.
2nd Woman: I'll have that too.
Miss: We do have homemade lemonade, if you'd like.
2nd Woman: I need decaf.
Miss: Lemonade is decaffeinated.
3rd Woman: Yeah, it is decaf.
2nd Woman: Well, I need Splenda.
Miss: ... [brings them 2 waters, a pound of lemons, and Splenda...ugh]

4. 4-top: Dad, Mom, 2 small children (a boy and a girl)
Miss: Can I get you started with drinks? [mom and dad both order, then they turn to the kids]
Boy: Raspberry iced tea
Miss: Sorry buddy, I don't have Raspberry iced tea.
Boy: [eyes welled with tears, he turns to his father] Why did we have to come here??
Father: [to me] How about a Sprite?
Boy: [to father] I don't want a Sprite! I want Raspberry iced tea.
I ended up bringing him a Sprite, but he did not lift his head from his pout for the rest of their experience. He didn't eat, drink, or utter a word the entire time.

That's all I've got.


PS In the Spell Check process, it, of course, picks up chimichangas, and the suggestions are "shortchanges," "mechanics," and "shamanic." Too funny.