The Passive Voice & Zombies

My students love the passive voice. It is frustrating trying to explain to them that nine times out of ten their idea could be better expressed in a plain and simple present or past tense conjugation of the same verb. Maddening.

I am handing back second drafts of their “Who Am I as a Consumer?” essays today. When I grade, I read their work with a notepad next to me. On this notepad, I list the greatest grammatical infractions that the majority of the class makes, and then when I hand back their work I do a quick grammar/writing related lessons, replete with examples from their written work. Yes, it’s a lot of work to cull and put together a lesson with their own writing, but it hits home stronger when their own words, mistakes, and successes are held up for scrutiny. Even the students who are used as examples as what-not-to-do appreciate having their own work corrected by the class. Then they don’t have to do it at home alone! Everyone wins.

I have become addicted to grading to the television. It started last fall when I had to read Composition I portfolios for a whole weekend. I watched “Dirty Dancing” (oh my wonderful…) and a multitude of other 80’s movies. It made staying up late with a stack of portfolios bearable. Just me and Patrick Swayze, baby. This weekend as I graded I watched episode one of “The Walking Dead.” Scary! Loved it. I love end-of-the-world scenarios. As much as I am an optimist, I have a heavy streak of pessimism, too.

So this post just hit home with me. Between the passive voice issues in my students’ writing and my new found love for zombies to accompany my grading, it was spot on.

Happy Monday! Happy midterms! Happy parent/teacher night to my high school peeps this week in New York City. Maybe your week be free of the passive voice and zombies.


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