Saturday, March 04, 2006

Friggin' teachers

Sometimes the assignments that students bring into the library really cause me to doubt the existence of their teacher's brain. A couple of days ago these two high schoolers came in working on a similar project. Their class is studying Dante and each of them has to write a five page paper on a character that appears in the Inferno. One of them had to research Virgil. No problem, there is material on him everywhere. The other student was assigned to research and write about a minor noble from Florence, Dante's 'hood. She was able to find a reference to him in a couple of essays on Dante in our literature online resources. I found a book we had on the history of Florence, he's not mentioned at all. My quesion is is this class a research class or a literature class? If it's a research class then all this digging is good, if not then it's pointless busy work. I only mention this because it happens all the time. These teachers hand out assignments is such a way that a couple of the students in a particular class end up getting assigned to research a topic that hasn't been covered as much of as the rest of possibilities. What happens then is that the kid, one of his parents and I end up busting our tails for an hour just for the tiniest sliver of information. The student then must learn, much too early in life, how to pad a paper.

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