Every semester, when I receive my first stack of essays, I am always blown away by at least 2-3 students. Sometimes I am blown away by the sheer talent of these students. In my 9 years of teaching freshman composition, I have seen some incredibly talented young writers. Some of these students have even gone on to major in English, get published, become English instructors themselves, etc. I always feel so honored to have taught such bright young authors.
But then there are the students who blow me away for other reasons. You know, like the students who turn in papers that are clearly plagiarized. Or the students who hand in papers that are half-finished, and instead of just completing the last few paragraphs, they write me a separate paragraph on how they couldn't finish their paper because their car broke down, their computer blew up, their girlfriend dumped them, the bookstore was out of our textbook, etc. I am also amazed by how many students don't proof read or even attempt spell check. Microsoft Word can't make it any easier for you people!
So when I sat down to start grading my very first stack of essays this semester, I was hoping to be blown away by a few young writers. But instead, I got an essay with text message spelling. That's right people...text message spelling. This student used "U" for "you" and "R" for "are" throughout the ENTIRE paper. Seriously??????
The sad part is that this student probably didn't even realize what he was doing. He probably texts all day long and then sat down to write this paper and just got on a roll with his texting code. But still...I was blown away. And not in a good way. Sigh...
This assignment was a literacy narrative on how student's attitudes about reading and writing have changed over the years. Several students, including the one I am referring to in this post, wrote about how they had a "really mean" English teacher that always criticized them and made them feel like they were stupid. They claim that it was because of these teachers that they no longer enjoy English.
So yeah...I have to tread very lightly when I speak to this student about his "texting" and I am not sure how to do that without making him feel stupid. Because really...it was pretty stupid. Unless this student specifically wrote about this experience so that I would be lenient when it comes to grading his papers. And if that is the case, then this student may be the smartest student I have ever taught :-)
So teacher friends...have any of you been receiving essays, projects, assignments or homework with "text spelling" these days? I wonder how common this is becoming...