Cranky Broads

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16 Responses

  1. chlost says:

    Silently adding three more books to the “to read” stack on the table beside my favorite reading chair.

  2. alexandra says:

    Now adding these three to the top of the pile on my bedroom floor book tower because please, you could make a gif out of what my face does when I hear *Nicholas Sparks*. (happy new year, friend! wishing you loads of love, laughter, and surprises in between!) So happy to have found you!

  3. Everything you said is why I LOVE my job–counseling those very students on how to develop the organizational and life skills to not have school derailed by life. I love this piece!

  4. Maria says:

    My wife lives in both worlds. She teaches high school music/media tech all day long and is also taking night classes to get her paralegal degree. This was after she discovered that a paralegal’s starting salary is more than her current one. She’s decided that after she retires from teaching, she’ll jump over to being a paralegal for a decade or so. She LOVES online classes, says that they are the easiest ones she has ever encountered and wishes fervently that ALL of her classes were online. The classes that she attends at a community college are eye opening for her. She swears that every person under the age of 30 behaves like a moron. (One girl’s cat died and she was unable to attend class. This just stymied Bing…and the instructor…who, sort of like your observances, noticed that she had twittered regularly throughout the entire week of her bereavement and even managed to post three photos of she and her friends partying and wearing top hats…)But, every year, Bing falls in love with several of her students and mothers them tenderly through the year.
    I wish that I felt the sort of feeling you describe at my job…that feeling as if I was where I belong. Instead, I feel like I’m really, really good at doing something that is kind of boring to me. Not a happy place. No.
    Good think piece, J. But, then…your pieces always are.

  5. kmkat says:

    [from one cranky broad to another]
    I read Amy Falls Down exactly as you did, with no idea it was a sequel. After reading the synopsis of The Writing Class as I was requesting it from the library, I can see why you enjoyed it 😉

    Also, would you give me an example of a sentence discussing a book that doesn’t use the word “I”? I fear I, like your students, do that way too much — but I am teachable…

    • Jocelyn says:

      An example? Why, yes, I’d be glad to provide one, Ms. kmkat:

      First person: “I like Kathy’s comment a lot because it shows me that she and I have much in common.”

      No first person: “Kathy’s comment added to the conversation because it noted specific moments from the blog post that resonated with her, along with raising questions worth addressing.”

      See how getting rid of the first person magically transforms the level of diction into something more formal and polished?

  6. sweffling says:

    Oh, I do so identify with you. In fact my hand gets itchier and itchier as people seem, to me, to become more and more self-indulgent! I find it disgraceful that first year undergrads, have to stay behind for me to teach them how to structure an essay that I could have done at 14 years old. But I suppose I am just showing my age:)
    Thanks for the authors, am about to go and look them over right now. You have such great taste, please keep them coming.

  7. Green Girl in Wisconsin says:

    First, I have to Google “gel shot” as soon as I leave her.
    It’s reassuring to read many of the same things I’m working on in English 12 are issues for your college kids–and hopefully I’m able to boost them beyond themselves and into some thoughtful reflection on nuance. But like you, I perceive a strict adherence to either/or dichotomy among many of my students who, incidentally, come from a fundamentalist background or such a rural experience that they haven’t even considered possibilities beyond their self-imposed geographic and cultural borders. Which brings us again to the marvelous power of Good Books and Reading.
    I’m so glad you get a shot of the pleasure of teaching literature to balance the backbreaking work of teaching writing, pal. On you this is not wasted.

  8. chlost says:

    Your post has stuck in my brain, and one other book came to mind with a crotchety female protagonist….well, one with whom I particularly identified. “Olive Kitteridge”, which was recently produced as an HBO special, hit me in the gut. She was described as being a very tall woman, who never felt physically comfortable in the world. She was also very disagreeable. I haven’t seen the mini-series as I don’t have HBO, but somehow I feel that with Frances McDormand playing Olive, the size issue may have been abandoned. Yet it is the crux of her negative attitude toward others. I felt her pain at being “different”, understood her disappointment with her life, as well as her unpleasant treatment of the people in her life.
    Even though it is more of a popular literature title, I would recommend this book as one with an unlikeable female main character.
    Sorry to hijack your post by suggesting another book and a second comment, but it has been bubbling in my brain ever since I read your post.

    • Jocelyn says:

      Heavens, my friend, no hijacking here–just adding to the conversation. You know, I read OLIVE KITTERIDGE a few years back, and it didn’t stick with me much. However, reading what you wrote here, and seeing it through your lens, well, suddenly it’s a much more interesting book to me. I should go back and read it again! Thanks for the additional thoughts.

  9. During my adjunct professor stint, I had students who would bail and then expect to me to accommodate the. Maddening but not a surprise to me since I have patients who do the very same thing with appointments. Which all leads me to believ that high schools ought to have a life skills portion for every school year.

  10. christopher says:

    Enjoyment is the key.

    And my guess is that the students who excuse themselves around everything are in it for the wrong reasons.

  11. Lil says:

    I don’t know how you do it. Seriously. I just don’t.

    I loved Amy Falls Down. I need to give the others a try. I also love the new look. Huzzah!

  12. Thanks. Just when I’d made a vow to ignore any new books suggested to me. They’re on my list.

    Also, just had to say — thoroughly enjoyed reading about the teaching. I can’t imagine anyone not learning from you. At the very least, laughing with you.

  13. Bijoux says:

    It’s been interesting for me to see what my three kids have read for their college comp classes over the years (private college, community college, mega university). I was thrilled when one of them told me, “Hey Mom, we are reading a Sedaris story in my comp class!”

    I read ‘The Writing Class’ and remember it because I found it odd. I will look for the Amy book.

  14. Meg says:

    And just when I am preparing to host book club (wine glass in hand) and need to propose books for next month! I’ve been recommending Let the great World Spin by Colum McCann lately. It has a couple of “difficult” female characters and a couple of interesting male characters for good measure.

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