22 funny things my students wrote and the beauty of diversity

The other day, I came across some pretty amusing things my former college students wrote in essays, informal reading responses and the “Here’s why I’m not bringing myself or my homework to class today” emails.

It was also a reminder that English teachers are often seen as unlicensed therapists of sorts, becoming privy to students’ depression and homesickness, struggles with gender identity, family abuse, unplanned pregnancies, homelessness. Perhaps even more so in the multifaceted San Francisco. In fact, an English college class in the Bay Area is kind of like the microcosm of our country. Everyone is different. Yet everyone wants to do well. That’s why empathy, on case-by-case basis, instead of authoritarianism and blowing people off with “you’re fired/deported/whatever” might be just the thing to help someone succeed.

ANYWAY, here are those funny bits I promised.

1. She glared at me with her frightful open eyes, popped out.

2. Hearing [Alice Walker] talk about the small shit she worries about makes me think about the small shit I worry about, which makes me think I really need a cigarette.

3. In the midst of California’s prospering “Silicon Valley,” my adolescent purgatory stood like a fading ghost of post-war optimism.

4. In Russia, party without vodka and herring is not a party.

5. I’m not sure I’ve learned anything from this chapter. In fact, after reading it ten minutes, I’ve already forgotten what it talked about. Way to be memorable.

6. When Thomas Kinkade paints, he doesn’t think about anything but what mainstream, elderly America will think. His paintings are like the entire European Rococo style overdosed on ecstasy and then floated through the sky on a cloud of marshmallows.

7. Getting the homeless to work will not be easy, but through totalitarian force it certainly can be accomplished. Just snatch them up from the streets, prison style.

8. It was stated in an article in the New Yorker Magazine, 40% of the people in America only read one book last year. I can’t even find the publication for this quote because I did not read it. In fact my girlfriend told me about it.

9. I would have never gotten rid of my old bookcase for a bad relationship. My family would be more important than sex with a young girl who had terrible mood swings.

10. Yeah, my personality is like if I like it I like it.

11. Today we were watching a TV miniseries about George Washington in class. Perfect! I could spend the entire time drawing without being noticed. Nuclear war could make American history moot anyways, so sketching images of a post-apocalyptic wasteland seemed a more relevant use of a number two pencil to me.

12. As a young [motorcycle] rider, I basically had zero balls and little confidence.

13. It may be because I read this when I woke up after insufficient sleep, but this story was extremely confusing to me. Maybe if someone had a gun to my head, I could have interpreted it properly.

14. [An example of Fear Tactic logical fallacy]: “Shut up or I’ll break your arm”

15. [Overheard]Girl, a fashion design student, says to a flaming young man wearing an accessory with Russian writing.
Girl: “OMG, is that Russian? I looooove Russian!”
Boy: “Yeah.”
Girl: “Ever slept with a Russian?”
Boy: (Thinks for a while): “Yeah, I have.”

16.  I know the whole “My door is broken and I live in a bad neighborhood” excuse is frequently overused and sounds a bit contrived, so I’m sending you a picture of it, also with the hopes that it can double as something equivalent to a doctor’s note.

17. My cat went missing last night and have been rather flustered since then. Terrible sounding excuse, I know. Thank you for teaching.

18. Considering my three classes this summer and a design internship, I try to be at least one or two steps ahead. To me time is more precious than platinum, gold, or even BART fare!

19. I’ve no excuse. I over slept; my clock didn’t alarm. It’s my bad, I’ll be better, I promise.

20. I woke up today and something bad is going on in my body!  Grah! Sorry… no more exclamations.

21. Well, won’t be able to make it today as I have not been keeping well… San Francisco wind.

22. The only people that really belong are holding on to a former culture from their “homeland.” To truly become an American you have to have no homeland. No outside allegiance. I am Californian. I am a mutt. Who cares where your genes are from.

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