Thursday, January 24, 2013

Rebel Girl's Poetry Corner: "I want to pass your class"

A little something for the beginning of the semester.  (By the way, the poet teaches across town at UCI as a lecturer and also at CSULB.)

From the Spring 2012 issue of Zyzzyva:

Dear Professor
~ David Hernandez

Let me explain my lengthy absence -
My entire family got food poisoning,
myself included.  We had eaten rotten
fish tacos, old bad cod, I've never been so
nauseous, the house wouldn't stop
spinning, wouldn't stop shuffling
its windows, I was gushing from
I'll spare you the details.  And Grandma
shutting down, hallucinating, said the world
was pixilated. We rushed her to St. Mary's
on a flat tire, no spare in the trunk,
a burst of sparks as the screaming rim
scored the road like a pizza cutter.
They plugged her in, her monitor drew
neon green mountain ranges. Strange,
you'd think they have Internet access
there, free wi-fi, a wing in the hospital
to check one's email.  Odd, too, no
connectivity back home, no electric blood
sluicing through the wires, a hitch
in the system, some inexplicable glitch,
impossible for me to get a hold of you
until now, two weeks after the due date.
I'm sorry.  And sorry I missed class today,
another flat tire, stupid overturned
box of nails on the freeway, I hissed
for miles, the cars listed, such a headache,
and still queasy from the tacos. Please
consider this when grading my essay
(see attachment).  Please excuse any typos
or logical fallacies, my mind has been
elsewhere: Grandma's mountains
stretched flat.  Her green horizon.  I want
to live forever.  I want to pass your class
and graduate, get a gig, marry some hottie.
see the world, drive until my wheels
come wobbling off, and keep driving -
but first I need to pass your class.
No pressure.  Honestly.  No pressure.



Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Kudos to the professor poet!

8-14: do you regret all the lying?

✅ Trump Encourages Racist Conspiracy Theory on Kamala Harris’s Eligibility to Be Vice President NYT ✅ Orange County Sees Overall Coronavirus...

Goals and Values and Twaddle

blather: long-winded talk with no real substance*
The whole concept of MSLOs [measurable student learning outcomes] as the latest fad in education is somewhat akin to the now discredited fad of the '90's, Total Quality Management, or TQM. Essentially, the ACCJC adopted MSLOs as the overarching basis for accrediting community colleges based on their faith in the theoretical treatises of a movement.... After repeated requests for research showing that such use of MSLOs is effective, none has been forthcoming from the ACCJC [accreditors]. Prior to large scale imposition of such a requirement at all institutions, research should be provided to establish that continuous monitoring of MSLOs has resulted in measurable improvements in student success at a given institution. No such research is forthcoming because there is none….
The Accountability Game…., Leon F. Marzillier (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, October, 2002)
In the summer of ’13, I offered a critique of the awkward verbiage by which the district and colleges explain their values, goals, and objectives —aka SOCCCD'S G&V (goals and values) blather.
I wrote a post each for the district, Saddleback College, and Irvine Valley College efforts. (See the links below.)
This verbiage—stated in terms of “values,” “missions,” “goals,” “visions,” and whatnot—is often badly written. It is sometimes embarrassingly trite.
It occasionally communicates something worthwhile.
No doubt you are familiar with the usual objections to jargon. Higher education, too, has its jargon—an irony, given typical college-level instruction in writing, which urges jargon eschewery.
Sure enough, SOCCCD G&V blather is riddled with jargon and with terms misused and abused. For instance, in the case of the district’s dubious blather, the so-called “vision” is actually a purpose. Why didn't they just call it that?
As one slogs through this prattle, one finds that "visions" tend to be awfully similar to “missions,” with which they are distinguished. The latter in turn are awfully similar to “goals,” which must be distinguished from “objectives.” But aren't goals and objectives pretty much the same thing?
These perverse word games will surely perplex or annoy anyone armed with a command of the English language. In fact, readers will be perplexed to the degree that they are thus armed. Illiterates, of course, will be untroubled.
Here's a simple point: the district and colleges’ G&V blather tends to eschew good, plain English in favor of technical terms and trendy words and phrases (i.e., it tends to be bullshitty and vague). Thus, one encounters such trendy terminological turds as “dynamic,” “diversity,” “student success,” and “student-centered.” Even meretricious neologisms such as ISLOs and “persistence rates” pop up, unexplained, undefended.
Does anyone see a transparency problem with all of this? Shouldn't the public, or at least the well educated public, be able to comprehend statements of the colleges' goals and values?
In the case of the district, to its credit, all it really seems to want to say is that it wants to teach well and it wants students to succeed. Admirable!
So why all the ugly, common-sense defying, buzzword-encrusted claptrap?

Districtular poppycock: our “vision” and our “mission” and our tolerance of twaddle - July 31, 2013

THEY BUZZ: Saddleback College's "Mission, Vision, and Values" - August 4, 2013

IVC’s vision, mission, and goals: nonsense on stilts - August 5, 2013

THE IRVINE VALLEY CHRONICLES: no ideas, just clichés & buzzwords - Sep 30, 2013

*From my Apple laptop's dictionary