It is paper-marking time. Last night I read the most atrocious paper I have ever seen, no exaggeration. This is from a student in an upper-year course. She's in her third or fourth year. She had given me a draft of the paper a few weeks ago, and I'd gone over it with a fine-toothed comb, correcting grammar and sentence structure. I'd also typed up a sheet of comments and directions on ways to fix the disaster that it was. (She is not an ESL student, by the way.) And she was going to go to the Academic Skills Centre to get help. So she handed it in, and it is no better - possibly, it is worse. It is completely unintelligible. Also profoundly offensive at times.
What depresses me is that she's gotten this far. And I think of the course of mine that she's in, which is a theory course, and which I pitch fairly high because there are a lot of exceptional thinkers in there. I can see now that she is getting absolutely nothing from it. That she doesn't even grasp the principles taught in the first year, let alone in an upper-year course like this. This essay assignment was to use materials from the course, and she's completely misinterpreted them, even though they were discussed in class. That feels bad, frankly - to know that I am completely failing to communicate with at least one person in there. Possibly others. Sigh. I can't *wait* to see their take-home mid-year exam.