Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thoughts while my neighbor is outside the window catching monarch butterflies

And why is it that we have monarch butterflies in the first place, what with it being 2700 miles over open ocean to the nearest continental land mass? Aren't monarch butterflies migratory?!?

I'm commenting on student paper drafts, an integral part of my process in the teaching of writing (in the context of art history). The first draft, I always say, is where things begin; not where they end. Students have a hard time believing this, having been trained that writing is something that you either do well, instinctively, or you don't ("can't") do. Balderdash. Anyhow, this kind of commenting work is labor-intensive but, I think, important. But here's the thing: I teach the same kind of writing every semester, but the students are always different. As a result, I find myself making the same comments, semester after semester, and thinking "Haven't you got this YET?!?!?" when of course these students are a totally different batch than the last round. (Except for that one guy who takes all my courses; he should really have the hang of it by now.)


Tommy said...

I feel this existential sympathy for landlocked salmon. I mean what goes through their 'mind?' Monarchs migrate from Canada to Mexico. I don't know how they got to Hawai'i, but what longings haunt their souls on those few constricted islands? Or for that matter, nene, evolved from Canada geese. Apparently at some time in the first millenium anno dominii some log jam raft broke free in the Pacific northwest and floated to Hawai'i with an assortment of animals aboard including Canada geese and bats. I imagine them waking up the next morning, with a "What the fuck?" look at the Pacific ocean.
You have a stalker student?

SEB said...

No, just a fanboy.

mindy said...

I thought all the monarch butterflies were on Isle au Haut, pining after the truck.

SEB said...

Hee hee. Alert the lepidopterists! We have an explanation for the white monarch butterfly phenomenon on O'ahu! It's not that the orange ones are getting eaten, it's just that they are all sneaking off to hang with Rocco.