I teach writing to college students. I school them in story structure and tone, coach them in voice and diction.
My students teach me things, too. I’ve learned, for example, how ridiculous the phrase “Professor Starshine” sounds. I’ve learned that making literary analogies to Ghostbusters — no matter how clever it seems to me — is inscrutable to people who were born in 1992.
But the most important thing I’ve learned from my students is this simple fact: When a four-year old pees on the floor, he ought to clean it up. You’re looking at me as though I just made another impenetrable Ghostbusters reference, but let me explain.
Parents are working harder than ever to get their kids into college. They start saving when their children are born, help them choose college prep courses as early as middle school, and schlep them to transcript-dazzling extracurricular pursuits throughout high school.
But from where I stand — at the front of a classroom of legal adults who show up at a writing class without a pen — I fret their efforts may be off the mark. In fact, some of my campus colleagues and I agree that while today’s parents get an “A” in Getting Their Kids Into College, they get an “F” in Teaching the Entitled Little Buggers What to Do Once They Get There.