Friday, February 19, 2010

100 essays and counting

I spent two days this week in a conference room at ESU #3 (Educational Service Unit for those of you not in the educational realm) grading district writing assessments. So glad I was "volun-told" for this :)

The writing prompt gurus were at the top of their game, apparently, because the essay topic was the ever-so-creative "What is your favorite season and why?" As you can imagine, there are only so many reasons that high school kids will think when describing their favorite season. I read a more than a few talking about loving the summer vacation from school (which was actually described as a prison in a few of the essays...really, is it that bad?), the presents at Christmas, the food at Thanksgiving, the flowers in spring, the colorful leaves in the fall....blah, blah, blah...

Before you hate me for being critical, I will readily admit that I would probably use the same safe, boring supporting details if I were to write this essay. That's why, in the midst of this mundane two days of reading, the following examples were refreshing...or at least made me laugh:
  • One young man was writing about his fondness of summer. He was not the first gentleman to proclaim his love for pretty girls in short shorts and such (ah, 15-year-old hormones...), but he did have the most interesting use of slang: "Me and my friends spit mad game with the honies and got a ton of numbers that night." In case you're wondering, that is apparently how "kids these days" are saying that they were at the top of their flirting game...I dare someone to work that phrase into everyday conversation and let me know how it goes.
  • Another young man wrote about his favorite holiday: Halloween. He described how he loved putting together an awesome costume and such. He wrote, though, that "until I was 8 or 9, my mom and I always fought over if I was going to be an oversized hotdog or Power Ranger for Halloween. I always walked away an oversized hotdog." A thrifty mom out there, apparently, wanting to get the most out of that hotdog costume she scored on the clearance rack at Nobbies. Poor kid...
  • I'll end on a budding entrepreneur that I wanted to smack (or at least give my evil eye) and call her mother. She wrote about liking fall because it offered the chance to make some extra cash racking leaves. One year, though, when she and her friends canvased the neighborhood, they realized that everyone had already racked their leaves into tidy piles ready to be bagged. These youngsters were so bent on making money that they snuck out at night, messed up all the leaf piles, and then showed up at the homeowners' doors the next morning, racks in hand, ready to be hired for racking. Convenient, eh? Punks!

Unfortunately, though, those were the highlights. Other than a handful of very tastefully, incredibly well-written essays, I read another 90 "First I like summer because of the pool...Next I like summer because of....Lastly summer is my favorite because..." Luckily the pot of coffee never ran dry.