Typing and Teaching


Wednesday is a quiet day in my classroom. Students have forum discussions to post, writing projects to organize, and presentations to finalize. I usually grade papers, offer advice, and do a little writing of my own.

Yesterday was such a Wednesday.

I graded a creative writing exercise (use all of the following in a 3-5 paragraph story … a fairy godmother, an ashtray, a courtroom, and 3pm any afternoon. It pushes the limits of creativity and if students ever hope to write engaging, dynamic academic papers, they must learn to allow their creativity first).  I often group random phrases together for them; I even have an app to help me. But I graded circling there when it should have been their, like when it should have been as, the usual Comp I issues. Writing fragment, or run-on in the margin.

Students were coming and going from the room. We had a laptop set up in a different classroom so they could record digital stories without interruption or background noise.

I fielded various and sundry typical Comp I questions (do you want this double-spaced? By three pages do you mean it has to make it to the third page, or fill the third page?).

I finished all of the grading and decided to catch up on my email. I sent out a couple of Yes, let’s no that, or no I can’t, but thank you anyway. Would I like an extra class for the summer term? Yes, yes I would, thank you.

And then I started a longer email to my Porches-retreat crowd:

There is less than a month until our trip to Nelson County and there are some things we should consider, talk about, discuss. Some things you may want to know: 

I will have a portable printer with ink and a ream of paper. Paper donations appreciated. You can access the printer either by…

Miss Mel, how do you spell juxtapose, with an a or an o?

An A—you realize spell-check will fix that for you, right?

I don’t use spell-check.

I returned to my typing…

…pluggung a flash drive into my machine or using google print. If you have a gmail account, google print is an amazing tool. Ink is cheap, $15 per cartridge and I will provide ink. it gets 150pgs per cartridge…

Pluggung? And ink and it need a comma, not a period. I made note and forged ahead—I would fix all typos before hitting send.

Miss Mel? Can I use Wikipedia as a source?

No.

But, it has the best information.

Wikipedia isn’t always reliable and should be avoided as an academic resource.

That’s dumb.

It’s the rule.

…I will also bring amaretto, whipping cream…

What if there aren’t any other sources?

There are always sources.

No, Wikipedia is the only good one.

You could go to the library.

You, mean, like, get a book? A book-book?

A printed book, yes.

Oh. Can I use a book-book as a source?

…and dinner wine…Rachel and I are planning a trip to Polyface Farms the morning of June 30–and will undoubtedly return with bacon, sausage, and steaks (the filet mignon is to DIE for!–we’ll

Miss Mel, how do I upload my response to the forum? I forget.

Write your response in Microsoft Word, highlight it, right click and choose “copy” from the list.

How do I highlight?—Never mind, I remember.

…bue a whole filet and slice it ourselves, it ends up at about $6-9 per steak that way)…

I quickly finished typing, amidst the plethora of surprising questions, and brief baffling conversations and hit send.

I hit the button and instantly realized, I hadn’t returned to correct my distracted errors. Maybe I should be kinder to my students. And dear email recipients, I do, in general, proof read.

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