Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hazy and Overdramatic Ramblings on MLA


The trees wear gloves of frost these days, iced over with the frigid temperatures that have settled in the area. I was shocked to see my thermometer read double digits when I climbed in after school, and fully expected the impending drop as the number corrected on the drive home.

While above zero temperatures make skiing in the waning sunlight more than fair game, I find myself in bed. It was a bit premature for me to reflectively note on Monday that I'd made it through Christmas break without getting sick--apparently I just waited until the last day to do it. My head has felt foggy for the past two days, making the instruction of Bibliographies and source citations even more challenging than normal. One student in particular, who has made it known on more than one occasion that he loathes rules that don't serve a very distinct purpose to protect one from harm, found particular issues with the conventions of MLA. At some point during the period I convinced him that he could conquer the rules in creating his bibliography masterpiece, but I don't remember how.

Despite my hazy memory of today's events, I do very clearly remember repeating the same phrases over and over again: "Don't forget to capitalize that." or "The period after______ isn't optional." I also remember literally leaning to the side when a student didn't know what it meant to italicize something. After all, sometimes verbal explanations don't quite cut it.

I left my desk this afternoon with substitute plans marginally created, should this cold double down on me overnight. After all, MLA has gotten the better of me when I was in great health and adequately energized. Trying to teach teenagers that balk at details like bringing pencils to class about the necessary commas and colons while I am sick? It could be the end of me.

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