Newfound Ignorance and a New Beginning

So . . . I’ve been gone for a hot minute. Admittedly, with some life changes, I got overwhelmed and stopped blogging, despite my love for the WordPress community. But, I’m back, and I’m excited to start blogging again and interacting with other bloggers.

Also, since I’ve taught college (How exciting is that?), I’m eager to be posting some articles that show both student and teacher points of view, whereas before I was mostly posting articles from a student’s viewpoint. Turns out, I didn’t know everything when I graduated from college. Shocking, right? You know what else is super surprising? I still don’t know everything. There’s a popular quote that says something like the older I get, the less I know. That’s probably true, or at least you become more aware of the extent of your ignorance, according to Confucius. So, let me celebrate my ignorance with a good, old-fashioned list (ah, I have missed these lists) of what I still don’t understand. To new beginnings and newfound ignorance.

1. Why our beloved dogs live to about 15 years or so, but some whales (like the bowhead whale) can live for over 200 years. I kid you not. 200 years. That’s just stupid.

Whale
Whales living for over 200 years. That’s utterly ridiculous. Photo by: Elizabeth Preston

2. Why one of my smartest students couldn’t figure out how to push a staple through a pile of papers. I dock my students 2 points for not stapling their papers, because they’re college students. They should know to staple by now. It’s a life skill. This one student took a staple from another assignment, and he was trying to push the staple through his assignment that was due, which was about five pages long. He pushed, and pushed, and pushed, and then proclaimed that he couldn’t do it. The whole assignment was too thick. I looked at this student—an engineering major, an A student, and a really good kid—and my brain hurt when he said that. I said, “One page at a time.” His response: “Oh.” Cue Dumb and Dumber laughter. “Right.” I guess that everyone has moments when their brains just stop. But why do we have these moments?

3. Why bacon tastes so good. I see videos online of baby teacup pigs snuggling with their owners under blankets, and I can’t help but ask, while guilty tears are streaming down my face, “Why do you have to taste so good yet be so cute?”

Pig
Why must you taste so good yet be so cute? Photo by: Elizabeth Preston

4. Why “denude” means to strip something of its covering. “Nude” is to be bare/naked, right? So, why doesn’t “denude” mean to make something not nude? “Destress” means to release or remove stress. “Decompress” means to relieve pressure—essentially to un-compress. “Deforest” pretty much means to take away the forest—to un-forest something. So why doesn’t “denude” mean to un-nude something?

5. Why some of the best tasting foods are the unhealthiest foods. Why isn’t a cinnamon bun as nutritious as broccoli? I get the whole fat, sugar, carbs, blah, blah, blah thing. But then why not make broccoli taste like a cinnamon bun and a cinnamon bun taste like broccoli? I do not understand.

6. Why shaking my cell phone like a snow globe makes it work better and load pages on the internet faster. It does, and I shall not be convinced otherwise.

Blue Ball
I’m not sure that I understand what this is, but it sure looks neat.  Maybe it’s what goes on in my cell phone when I shake it, and those squares are the pixels working extra fast.  Sure.  Let’s go with that. Photo by: Elizabeth Preston

7. Why some schools have a policy that students cannot get lower than 50% on a test. I have a buddy who teaches high school, and this is a rule that the teachers must follow at his school. So, even if a student simply writes his/her name on a test and doesn’t answer one single question on that test, that student cannot get less than a 50% for a grade. Huh? Someone make that make sense for me.  There has to be logic there.

8. Why certain teachers are called “teaching assistants” (TAs) when there is no lead teacher that they’re assisting. Hear me out on this one. My fellow TAs in my department and myself teach our own classes. We make our own lesson plans. We grade everything. We are the ones responsible for our classes. There is no head professor that we are “assisting” per se. So, why is “assistant” added to the moniker? I know not.

9. Why writers are dropping the Oxford comma. Before you think that I’m a grammatical fuddy duddy (which I might be anyway), let’s look at this list. If I say, “I ate bananas, milk, orange juice and cereal for breakfast,” there is a possibility that you could think that I actually put orange juice in my cereal. Madness. Sheer madness! However, if I say, “I ate bananas, milk, orange juice, and cereal for breakfast,” then you don’t question my sanity. Well, at least you don’t with regard to my breakfast choices. So, never let the Oxford comma die. Never!

10. Why my students are still finding loopholes in my 15-page syllabus. I have revised and refined this syllabus probably about 30 times. I have taught multiple semesters using it. Yet, students are still finding loopholes. What am I missing? How are they doing this? Some can’t figure out a staple, but they can still parse out sentences in my syllabus to find loopholes that give them an extra week on an assignment, and then they support their claims about these loopholes with complex, logical arguments. Just . . . why and how?

Blue Flower
Photo by: Elizabeth Preston
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