Friday, March 05, 2010

Why English Teachers Die Young

I used to teach English. I'm glad I don't anymore, not because I don't love literature; I do. I'm also a grammar freak. But the essays... oh those essays to mark. I mark plenty of essays as a Social Studies/History teacher, but somehow they're different.

My department head sent me this email the other day. It gave me a laugh, and it made me think of Isabelle, so I hope she reads this:

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country.

Here are last year's winners...
  1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
  2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
  3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
  4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
  5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
  6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
  7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
  8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
  9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
  10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
  11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. Instead of 7:30.
  12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
  13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
  14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. Traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m., at a speed of 35 mph.
  15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
  16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
  17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.
  18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
  19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
  20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law, Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
  21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
  22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
  23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
  24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
  25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
C'est drĂ´le, n'est-ce pas?

Another beautiful day here, with temperatures reaching 9 degrees celsius. That's about 48 degrees fahrenheit. Lovely for March. I even washed my car today; I had to because I could barely see out the windows. All the thawing and mud this week has made a real mess. But I'm not complaining. I love the sunshine!

When I got home from work this afternoon, I baked a batch of oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies for the OnlyChild to take to rehearsal tomorrow. She's a stage manager for the school play; she used to be on-stage, but then she gave it up. Too bad - she was a very good actress. I'm glad she's renewed her interest in theatre and is enjoying her 'job'.

I also did my housecleaning for the weekend (well, the downstairs anyway). I opened windows and let the air and sun in. I have a bit of marking to do, and lots of sewing, I hope. The weather is supposed to continue like this for a few more days - then snow on Monday. Ugh.

Got any good plans for the weekend?


Pat said...

I hope to finish (or at least get near to completion) my Downey Quilt for Kids' quilt....and I also am committed to doing another Saturday of "working interviews" with the applicants for the music directorship in our I'll do that with the folk group and the bell choir and then on Sunday morning, I am part of the crew who will prepare and serve the monthly breakfast our church has. SO...busy weekend for me...that's for sure. I LOVE the excerpts from the students' essays!!! What a HOOT!!!

Pokey said...

Oh, man. Priceless quotes!

Barb said...

You are getting in the Spring Mode....opening the windows....the fresh air....

Here the air is humid and stiffling hot, I would love a little spring air...but oh well...can't always have what we can we???

Good luck with your sewing.

Thimbleanna said...

Very Good Rachel! I especially love 5 and 6 -- too funny! And Oh! The six degrees the other day was YOUR six degrees, not ours -- now I see why you thought it was so wonderful. I couldn't figure out why you were so excited about 6 degrees F LOL! Have a good weekend!

Erin Wallace said...

These are so funny! The American tradition of fathers chasing their kids around with power tools? And algebra as love. But I love #3 has to be my favorite. So funny!

Sew Create It - Jane said...

LOL - this made me smile. I sent your post to my DD who will be spending the next couple of months perfecting her essay skills ready to write her GCSEs...I'm sure she will find it amusing!

Gene Black said...

I was laughing out loud at these. Too funny!

my "word verification" word is friogyn. That is a doctor who specializes in women's medicine and has a heart like water that has spent the night in a Spanish freezer.

(yes, I have the capability of shortening an English teacher's life, if I so choose.)

Stacy said...

Those are funny. I like number 20 the best, but 17 and 18 cracked me up, too. Thanks for starting my day with a smile.

No big weekend plans, but I'm thinking about getting a massage.

Pam said...

Ah, thanks for thinking of me!

I'm about to go and rake up yet more of last autumn's leaves. The sun's shining, kind of.

ooglebloops said...

Too many favorites here- but #10 and #17 top the list!!LOL I forwarded your link to a friend who is a college English prof - she will enjoy this!!!

Sara said...

We are having beautiful weather today...I love it...It is 48 degrees and the sun is shining. Even went for a walk these last two days.

andsewon said...

I have been cutting and cutting with a wee bit of sewing today.
I do have 3 charity tops ready to quilt.
Happy you have some sunshine and warmer temps to enjoy.
Just staying in here out of the cold wind.
Now I HAVE to pass this on to my teachers!!!
So cute!

Unknown said...

the analogies are really funny......