November 2, 2005

The Mating Habits of Dung Beetles

When I was in college, I was an academic peer mentor. (This is a fancy title for tutoring those who don't make the grade.) During one of our training session, the book we were reading told how to create interest in our written papers, and how to set our work apart from the work of others. One of the suggestions it gave was to choose the hard or least chosen subject. It listed several topics a biology professor might give. The first two were rather easy and would be very likely chosen by the vast majority of the students. (They were so easy and ordinary that I can't recall what they were.) The third option was "The Mating Habits of Dung Beetles."

The third option was supposed to be best because it was least likely to be chosen, and the professor would appreciate the break from reading the papers of your classmates all on the same subjects.

I never really understood this till last night. I was a judge in an essay contest; The Patriot's Pen through the local VFW. The topic was, "Who are today's patriots?" This is a good topic for an essay from the VFW, and judging essays to help children get scholarships is a good thing. However, 45 essays on how fireman, policemen, soldiers, and the president are all patriots (which they are) was a little boring. There were a few people who said the workingman, their parents, and one included Toby Keith.

There was some originality, but not much. I think most of it was purely accidental. I discovered, though, that I could not be a junior high English teacher because I could not stand the bad writing. What I was hoping for was just one student to write something different; to have a point of view different from the rest. There were some who came close, but their writing ability hindered them.

We chose the top three, and called it quits. Maybe they should have just nominated the dung beetle for patriot.

1 comment:

  1. If you link to Jenn then you have to link to me too. :)