Thursday, April 27, 2006

Writing From the Heights of Eloquence to the Depths of Erratum

Students compile their essays from the year, edit them anew, and then bind them into a book. They are all centralized around aspects of themselves, a staple in the seventh-grade curriculum. Parents even have the opportunity to write a chapter of their own, and those students who have parents that have participated in this have been beaming as they read what has been said about them. The additions to the essay components are a dedication, as well as a reflection on their work. I have been equally amazed by their eloquence and dismayed by their oversights. Here are the more memorable.

Some of the brilliant dedications are: "To anyone who woke up on Monday and thought it was Saturday" and this one from my little orchestra violinist: "To B-flat, the most resonant note of all."

Many students dedicate the book to their families, thanking them for their support and love. Here's an awkward one: "This book is dedicated to my parents. Without them, I wouldn't be here." So, what is she thanking them for, exactly?

I like to imagine the student writing her essays throughout the year after reading this: "This book is dedicated to Fiona, Bun-bun, and the rest of my animals. Without their funny antics, I would have gone crazy trying to meet my deadline."

One student added an Editor's Note to the close of her book: "Twenty years after this paper was written, the author became an eccentric hermit. When she told her mother and father of this, she reportedly said, 'I go in search of personality and mysteriousness.' To this day she lives somewhere in the Rocky Mountains with a flock of Belgian Quail D'Anvers. This should not alarm the reader if they plan on going mountain climbing: simply take along an offering of books to give to her when she comes to take the toll."

And here is the most memorable beginning to a chapter written by a parent: "[Our son] was born in Honolulu, Hawaii due to an ill-timed vacation by his normally responsible parents."

And if you want to end on a pleasant note, you should stop reading now. Below follows the tragic typos in these finished works.

First, let's begin with some irony, found in this reflection: "This year my writing is a lot better than the begging of the year."

And here's a dedication: "I dedicate this book to my mom. She is the one who helped me edit and prefect all off my papers." Somehow I imagine her mother didn't get to check this particular writing sample.

I don't even know where to begin with this reflection: "When I was righting these essays I notes a lot of things. I became a better righter. I became a better speller. I have learned how to right good essays."

And just more proof that when this year is finished, I won't know how to spell anything correctly: "When I reflect back on my essays from the beginning of the year I notice a lot of big mistakes and some miner mistakes." Is a "miner" mistake one where you accidently extract lead instead of iron? And when do you have opportunities to write in all that barren darkness? I can't imagine it's good for the eyes.

Here's an example of one of the most commonly misspelled words, by children and adults alike: "If you like sports, then you should defiantly read this." And as you read, perhaps you can scowl and vigorously thrust your fist in the air at appropriate intervals.

Finally, "I want to get married and have children, but I think I'll adapt." One must always remain flexible in such areas.

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