Dear Elementary Education Program,
Thank you. You have truly produced some extraordinary students. There is nothing I love more than reading a paper in which the writer ends a sentence with four exclamation points, substitutes ALL CAPS for the less ostentatious and sadly pedestrian italics, and, rather than provide actual statistics, simply states, “I believe the number is something like 10%.”
I appreciate that you have entrusted me with the task of explaining plagiarism to a student enrolled in a 400 level class. I think it’s great that college seniors feel free to eschew quotation marks, and forgo in-text citations in favor of simply embedding URLs into their essays. Proper documentation is hard, so fuck it.
I admire your willingness to let your students build their “arguments,” such as they are, solely on the foundation of personal experience. Logic and research are overrated; there is little in the world that is more persuasive than an incoherent soliloquy about your friends in high school and how they were like totally back-stabby and stuff.
Ad hominem attacks are fantastic; seeing your students misuse the term ad hominem is even better. Two sentence paragraphs are always a delight, as are uncontextualized quotations. I adore phrases like “an act of incest discrimination”—it rivals the Book of Job for number of potential interpretations. Such rudimentary, purely informational theses as “Jonathan’s Swift’s A Modest Proposal is an example of satire” make my heart simultaneously sing and soar, while the suggestion that The Simpsons is just mean and “makes light of a working-class lifestyle epitomized by a family with the same name, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie” makes me feel so woefully inferior that all I can do is curl up in a fetal position on my couch and inhale a bag of chocolate chips.
But what really buoys my spirits is the knowledge that these students will go on to teach the children of Amurrica. I’m so grateful that you have kept these emerging leaders focused on what’s truly important—the ability to make beautiful snowflakes with nothing but a piece of construction paper and a pair of scissors. Had they not benefitted from your careful guidance, they might have paused to engage in serious, rational thought, and then, well, who knows what kind of atrocities might have occurred.
Thanks, El Ed! You make me feel like maybe everything will be okay after all.
Your Most Devoted Writing Tutor