Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dies Irae

The Archangel Michael from "The Altarpiece of the Last Judgement"
Rogier Van der Weyden
One of my favorite choral piece's is Mozart's Requiem. In it, there is a marvelous stirring and quite daunting chorus called Dies Irae. Every time, I hear it, I get chills. Here's the Latin and a translation.


Pay special attention to "Day of wrath and terror looming!" That was today. Students who were given the opportunity to rewrite papers had to turn them in today. My policy, on the first paper, is to give students who get a D or who are totally off-prompt a chance to rewrite. Their papers are due one week from when I gave them that opportunity.


And today was the day--well, papers came rolling in and along with them excuses. I had no grade recorded for two students. So I discreetly went and asked them--are you planning to write a paper? Well, one stuttered, I just can't seem to get going. (I am thinking--you think you might get going some time before the end of the semester?) Another student said--no she hadn't written her first paper--did she have to write one?


And then I had these excuses:


1. My computer has Microsoft 7 and the college printers wouldn't work. My response? That's why I show you how to save a document in Rich Text Format.


2. My paper was two days late because I had to have emergency meetings with my lawyers. So I said--well, you could have written me an email beforehand. No, this student replied, I am not allowed to use the Internet, for reasons I can't go into. My response--hands held up--that's OK, please don't explain.


3. And last, but not least, Miss Mac Cheese brought in her re-written paper--all ONE page of it. And then she proceeded to tell me that she only wrote one page (for a 4 page requirement) because she went to the writing center for help and the tutor there said "I don't see how you can write 4 pages on that prompt"--so she didn't. I told her my paper requirements TRUMP the writing center's tutor's opinion, any day.


Harrumph!

12 comments:

Elaine said...

Oh, I so do not miss having to listen to student excuses! The sad thing about leaving teaching is its those negative things that seem imprinted on my brain forever but the amazing original essays and stories I got most of the time have slipped away. I do wish I'd kept some of my students' brilliance but that always seemed a little like stealing.
So my advice? Concentrate on those who do more than what you asked.

Elaine said...

Yikes! This former teacher of English did the unthinkable and left out an important apostrophe. And that's one of my favorite grammar beefs. Mea culpa. Read it's, please. :-)

Beverly said...

Oh, my. You need to go to www.weeklyscheiss.blogspot.com and read Mamacita's posts. She also teaches at a community college and has quite the stories to tell. She's also quite amusing and very outspoken.

Anvilcloud said...

What fun!

Jean said...

No new mac casserole, though? I think she's putting in time - is she a sponsored student? Most are diligent but some aren't.

Pam said...

Harrump, indeed. At least they have moved past "my dog ate it!"

Funny you should mention Mozart's Requiem, I was listening to it the other day as I was putting my favorite music into my iPod, and as many times as I've heard it, it still gives me chills, too.

Ginnie said...

Thank you for mentioning Mozart's Requiem...it always brings to my mind one of my favorite movies...
"Amadeus", (1984). The ending of the movie touched me profoundly as they took Mozart's body to a paupers grave...with the requiem playing in the backgroud. It gives me shivers to remember it.

Mary said...

Lame, lame, lame excuses, excuses, excuses. I was waiting to here about Miss Mac Cheese. LOL!

Donna, you certainly have your hands full. I am wondering if the slackers will turn things around before they flunk out.

Cathy said...

Oh Donna! I listened to the music, trembled at the lyrics and THEN -laughed at the juxtaposition with your tale of classroom woes. Lordy. I hope you are well compensated my dear. Patience like yours is a true virtue.

Trixie said...

h my, I was never that creative with excuses. I really like the lawyers and no internet student, that is some creative thinking.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Students just don't get it: they are the consummers of education and should be demanding more for the $$$ from instuctors rather than less. If they were buying any other precious item they would try to get every perk possible. Where did we learn to try to get by with the least effort and then complain when we are told that is not enough!

I enjoyed the link to the Latin. Hard to find any interesting Latin to read. Hell! it is almost impossible to find a high school that teaches Latin. My little 500 student high school, way back when, had a full time Latin teacher.

There is a Finnish radio station that broadcasts the news in Latin once a week. Worth a listen http://www.yleradio1.fi/nuntii/

Grace, Every Day said...

Love the Requiem.

Miss Mac&Cheese should have ponied up some cake or something. She ought to have her own blog...

I love these stories. Sorry for your frustration, but love the insight!