I couldn’t be more excited for my guest today,
To say this woman is multi-talented would be an understatement. Her blog is not only filled with posts about all aspects of writing, but also personal stories, editing advice, book reviews, and author interviews. She’s also an accomplished author herself, and a freelance editor…you know… in her spare time. The best part, though, is the fact that she’s approachable, funny, and supportive. If you don’t know of her already, I encourage you to visit her blog STAT!
Without further ado, I leave in you Jeri’s capable hands.
School often gets a bad rap as being beyond boring. Remember the way Charlie Brown’s teacher was always shown talking to students in a mumbled monotone? Or the listless way the teacher interacts with the classroom in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? We’ve all experienced similar scenarios. Now imagine fourteen hours of such hell. Welcome to the weekend War Films Workshop with Professor Bland.
Even though I’ve left the classroom and now work as a freelance editor, I would be crazy to let my teaching license expire. Last semester, I earned three credits as a submissions editor for a literary journal. Reading 100 short stories a month kinda kicked my ass. So this semester I opted for the relatively quick and painless process of taking three one-credit weekend workshops.
Let’s just say painless is a relative term.
I don’t particularly like war films, but figured how bad could such a class be? Needless to say, it took about an hour and a half to even get to the first movie as we engaged in pointless warm-up activities.
The realization began that this man was beyond boring. Rather than pinpoint pertinent clips, he preceded to fast forward through entire movies, stopping occasionally let a scene play while also commenting on it. He didn’t realize nobody could hear him, not that anybody was paying attention.
Nothing could rescue any of us in that room from his oblivious torture tactics.
Let’s start by getting a few things straight: I love learning and spent a decade of my life teaching writing and literature at both the college and high school level. Thanks to plentiful scholarships, I spent more years than I care to admit studying rhetoric and composition, English education, and creative writing. I still think about getting a Ph.D. No bones about it, I’m an academic nerd.
Luckily, I had my Kindle PaperWhite and iPhone. I didn’t even bother to be covert about using them. In a pass/fail class led by a buffoon, I figured normal courtesy didn’t apply. After those first three hours, I came back again Saturday for eight hours straight of beyond boring narration and general murdering of movie enjoyment. At least I managed to read half of a novel.
Early on I wondered if it was just me. I tend to be overly critical. I looked the dude up on the Rate my Professor website and saw he scored a 2.1 out of five. After reading about how much he sucked, I henceforth deemed him Professor Bland.
The $266 fee aside, I expected to learn something. Anything!
Instead, the asshole gave the class a worksheet. I’d rather just write a friggin’ paper. It was obvious his learning objectives weren’t aligned with the outcomes he expected from his the silly assignment. I picked the opening scene from the Civil War movie Cold Mountain. At least I had fun watching the good-bye kiss between Nicole Kidman and Jude law more than a few times.
Finally, I trudged back for the three remaining hours. All the while I wondered how someone could remain so blissfully unaware of how unengaging he came across. Granted, many professors are more into researching and publishing in their chosen field. But still. If you gotta do a job, you may as well try to do it well.
“So what do you think?” Professor Bland made a final, futile attempt to make the light bulbs of cinematic criticism go off in our heads.
What did I think? I wanted to say I thought he had just ruined over twenty movies that I now feel like I should go watch on my own so I can truly appreciate them. I wanted to say there was no rhyme or reason to anything he asked us to do or discuss. I wanted to say he didn’t have a clue how mind-numbingly boring and what an utter waste of time the workshop really was.
Of course, all I did was smile and nod. I turned my little assignment in, glad for it to be over and another credit soon to be added to my transcript. Though I suppose I’ll be pissed off about that waste of a weekend for years to come.
What is one of the most disappointing educational experiences you’ve ever had?
Jeri Walker-Bickett (@JeriWB) writes short stories, creative nonfiction, and psychological suspense. The rough mining town she grew up in—with its mix of bars, churches, and whorehouses—populates her literary landscape. Food, travel, and photography also inspire her creativity. She lives in Idaho with her wonderful husband and their demanding pets. You can connect with her at JeriWB.com where she pursues good writing in all its forms. Please explore her titles via Amazon. She also works as a freelance editor.
Blog: JeriWB Author & Editor http://jeriwb.com/
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/Jeri-Walker-Bickett/e/B006UHV4CA