Incredible Feats of Strength

It is amazing what my students can do. Occasionally I wonder why, if they can do all the unbelievable things they write about, they cannot finish their homework. But I digress. Today’s studentism needed the whole family to accomplish, and it really did warm my heart to know they all worked together so well.

In today’s world of families falling apart, ignoring each other in favor of–anything, really, and going their own way as much as possible, I was thrilled that some students have families that work toward a common goal. I do wish more families were like that. I love having a family that, though it has many disparate parts, works together when something needs to happen.

I can only assume that the family of the student who wrote this is the same: when they see something that needs to be done, they all get together and figure out how to make it work. This is obviously a family with goals, dreams, and the wherewithal to make it happen. If you’re not convinced, check out what the student wrote; you’ll become a believer:

My mom, my brothers, my sister and I were getting ready to move Minnesota.

Another Incredible Family

Wow. In an incredible demonstration of family togetherness and problem solving, they were about to move Minnesota. Where they thought Minnesota needed to go, or how they eventually decided they would move it aren’t explained. Perhaps they had begun with the District of Columbia, or had previously worked on moving Rhode Island, and felt that with their prior experience, they could safely move Minnesota.

I suppose in the end they realized the task was too much for them, which is why our maps haven’t been redrawn. However, even the thought of taking on such a daunting task is so beyond my purview that I’m amazed this student could write about such a thing so casually.

At least it wasn’t Texas.

Inadvertent Parallelism

Sometimes it’s not the things students write, but what they say. I recall overhearing a couple of students as they walked into our building after lunch. Keep in mind, as you eavesdrop with me, that the only classes taught in this building are English classes of one level or another.

Student One: What class do you have right now?

Student Two: English.

Student One, blithely: Okay.

I was hard-pressed to keep a straight face. Of course English!

So where does parallelism come into it? I have taught The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet a few too many times. In I:i, we see this conversation:

Benvolio: Tell me in sadness, who is it that you love?

Romeo: […] In sadness cousin, I do love a woman.

Benvolio: I aimed so near, when I supposed you loved.

Romeo’s response to his cousin’s query produces in the audience the same “Gee, really?” response that I experienced while listening to the two students. It is Benvolio’s dry response, however, that makes Shakespeare’s version rise to the heights of literature while the poor students I overheard will go down in very few annals of history for their witticisms.

“It’s Elementary, my dear Watson!”

I’m sure I’ve had a few stellar conversational gambits of my own–please don’t think I make fun of these things because I’m infallible. I just enjoy them so. I hope that my own oddities and “duh” moments provided someone else with the amusement I derive from the ones I’ve collected over the years. After all, “for what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?” (Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 57).

Do pardon the jumble of literary references in this post. I have read enough that allusions are a standard part of my conversational vocabulary.