My students are, in case you haven’t noticed, non-traditional learners. The majority of them do not have an innate sense of “school culture,” where you study and do homework in a regulated way. Most of them have never willingly written anything longer than 144 characters. This leads to some interesting times when I hear their presentations and read their papers. Sometimes I feel like half my work is English-to-English translation. This has gotten easier because they gradually taught me a new skill — reading with my ears. If I imagine a student speaking to me as I read their paper, hearing the spoken words more than seeing them written down, I get a much better sense of what they are trying to say. And they get a much fairer grade.
Still, some of their phrases are too good to keep to myself. Here are my favorites from last term. This is heavy on the spoken word, as is their inclination.
PART ONE: THE SPOKEN WORD (quotes from presentations)
A student was furiously scratching her scalp. This was her response when I asked if she was alright, “Yeah. It’s just my head’s on too tight.”
“Like a book book, you mean. Like, The Hunger Games.”
“I don’t wanna say I don’t like old people but . . . . . . . . . . . “
“He doesn’t like pasta. I don’t know why. Pasta is amazing.”
“I learned that people with Alzheimer’s, you know, they’re just like humans.”
PART TWO: THE WRITTEN WORD (translations included)
“Fibromyalgia is diagnosed with an Emory.” (MRI)
“He said that PTSD is the little hamstring in your head that never stops running.” (hamster)