I really don't like to bitch about my work. I realize that I'm really privileged to be doing what I do. I can't imagine any work that would be a better combination of getting stimulation (intellectual--get your minds out of the gutter! wink ) and begin able to deal with and influence, positively I hope, young kids.

But (you knew there was a but coming) there is something really really wrong with kids nowadays. Yeah--old fart attitude, I know. But really. I gave an assignment to my one class back in August, in the syllabus. Two weeks ago I repeated the assignment, giving more detail. The paper is due this Friday. Today I have gotten about two thirds of the students sending me emails with questions that indicate pretty clearly that they started writing their papers tonight.

OK--a little 11th hour work gets the adrenaline pumping and that' good for some people. But the emails all reflect the students' complete and total dependence on someone telling them what to do. Without exception they want me to tell them what to think and what to write.

I think that a lot of that attitude comes from what the kids have experienced in high school. They can't get down to writing unless they have a prompt, a question that leads them in a specific direction. All their writing in high school seems to have been in response to prompts. So if I ask them to come to their own conclusion about a text of their choice, which we have talked about in class, they can't do it. They don't know how to think their way to their own point of view. There are students who can think through things and come to their own conclusions. But very very very few of those.

I'm really afraid that we're producing a whole generation of folks who can't think their way out of a paper bag.
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