Reasons Why Teachers “REFUSE” to Grade Your Work

Dear Students,

We are presently practicing the three major types of writing: Narrative, Argumentative and Expository.  Well, here’s the deal: writing is used to express a viewpoint, and I have one to express.

I am exhausted, absolutely fed up and exhausted, by the half-truths or blatant lies you tell your parents about your late/missing work.  It seems I spend more time fixing this than I do teaching you.  What gets me the most is when a student tells their parent that their teacher “refused” to grade their work.

So here it is: the top eight reasons why your teachers “refuse” to grade your work…

8) It’s from last semester.  Now, our grading policy is very liberal, but even it cannot save you from this.  If you’d like it graded, it needs to be in by the last day of the semester.

7) You handed it in at the start of the hour and I’ve been teaching since.  Now, I’m a good multitasker…one of the best you’ve ever met, I’d wager, but even I will not try to teach and grade at the same time.  Bonus points if you ask me “did you grade my assignment yet” and I have not even stepped foot near the box.  (Similar: “Did you grade my paper yet?” “I was gone yesterday.”  “So did you grade my paper yet?”)

6) While I do have a good sense of student moods, I’m not yet a mind reader, and just touching your paper is not enough to tell me whose it is…I need to read the name written in the proper ELA heading.  No name papers are thoughtfully put in a folder…I’d suggest you check there first before telling me or your parents that I “refused” to grade your paper.  (Also related, “you must have lost it, Miss.”  Oh really?  Do you know how many papers I’ve actually LOST in the last six years?  One.  And I gave that kid full credit because his paper blew away when I opened my car door.  Don’t try me, child whose book bag has not been cleaned since the first day of school.)

5) The teaching fairy has not gotten me my X-Ray goggles yet.  When she was handing those out I was still in benefits sign up and well, I haven’t been able to track the little pixie down.  Ergo, until I get those, I cannot grade the paper that is still in your binder/book bag/folded up in your pocket/tucked into your text book like I’ve told you 1000X before not to do or lost in the depths of your locker which you never clean.

4) It’s not from my class.  While I do hablo espanol, I am not grading the Spanish assignment you turned in just because it was the same color as the homework I gave you earlier.

3) Now, I’m pretty good at deciphering messy handwriting…it comes from many years of teaching and being in a relationship with a medical student.  However, there are even times I cannot read your chicken scratch and I refuse to make myself stone blind because you cannot take an extra few minutes and write neatly enough for me to read.  (Bonus points if you yourself cannot translate what you wrote, as has been the case I’ve been dealing with lately).

2) It was incomplete.  Sorry, I’m not grading something you did one problem on to try and get points for.  Odds are the points that you’ll get, when factoring the fact that the assignment is already late, will move your grade no more than a tenth of a percentage point.  Then, you still have almost no points for the assignment and if you want it to make a difference in your grade, you’ll have to redo it and then I’ll have to regrade it.  Nope, do it completely the first time.  You’re lucky I give you that opportunity.  (Related: incomplete assignments handed in on time to try and get the Discovery points.  Are you kidding me?)

1) Timing-or lack there of.  Okay, here’s the problem; we have a gray area in our grading policy.  You are told your grade must be up at least 24 hours before any event (a rule that is rarely enforced).  Most of you think this means the paper needs to be in the box 24 hours before the event, which is false.  Your teachers need time to grade that work, and therein lies the problem: our contract set by our administration says we only have to update grades once a week, on Wednesdays.  That means if you hand in late work on a Thursday, *technically* I have until the following Wednesday to grade it before you could reasonably complain I was refusing to grade your work.  Mostly, I grade every two or three days to keep the papers from piling up, but life does happen sometimes.  If the event is Thursday, and you hand in your work on Monday, and we grade it Wednesday, that falls into the 24 hour rule (close enough for government work, anyway).  However, if the event is Saturday, and you hand in the work on Friday at any point, you’re playing with fire.  (Bonus points if you hand it in Friday after school hours and ask me to have it graded by 5:00 AND email your band teacher/coach/parent so you can do whatever it is you want to do that motivated you to turn in the work I’ve been asking you for for goodness only knows how long.  Sorrynotsorry, I have plans and I’m not sacrificing my physical therapy appointment/dinner with my friends/cleaning my house/shampooing my hair/taking a nap/going grocery shopping/whatever else because you failed to plan and now you think it’s an emergency on my part.  DO NOT go home and tell your parents that I “refused” to grade your work.  I’ll get to it-before Wednesday).

To those of you who routinely turn in your work on time, bless you.

First of all, I take late papers.  And what do I do?  I leave the grade blank if you've turned it in...it's only counting against you IF IT IS MISSING.  That way, you know if it's missing or not, and I can give each paper the time and attention to constructively help you write a better one next time.

First of all, I take late papers. And what do I do? I leave the grade blank if you’ve turned it in…it’s only counting against you IF IT IS MISSING. That way, you know if it’s missing or not, and I can give each paper the time and attention to constructively help you write a better one next time.

This is really the best way to avoid this all together...

This is really the best way to avoid this all together…

Oh the Things They Say…

My students always struggle with geography, but this week they topped themselves in other ways with the Things They Say.  Former students will appreciate these.

1) Some background.  Last year, three of my males designed a Holocaust Memorial Wall, with a metal Star of David they welded at the center and the words “Remember: Never Again” surrounding the star.  It is a beautiful tribute.  I am very proud of it and enjoy having it hanging in my classroom.

A student came up to me after school a couple of days ago and said I was Illuminati because of the star.  When I explained that no, it was the Star of David, and the motto was that of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, her eyes widened and she said “you mean you’re a Nazi?”

Because this...

Because this…

 

 

...looks so much like this.

…looks so much like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I told her I couldn’t talk to her anymore that day.  

2) Each week, my team gives our students a half page green sheet.  We write their grades on it so they always know what they have and what they’re missing.  Students have the option to get it signed by their parents and bring it back for extra credit in science.  On Friday, when I was handing back green sheets to my 8/9 block, one of my girls asked me why she needed to get another green sheet.

“Did you lose yours from this morning?”

“No, I mean, I got mine signed last week: why do I gotta get another one?”

I forgot that their grades never change from week to week…

*These anecdotes are not intended to humiliate or shame students into oblivion.  They are solely for the amusement of teachers everywhere, who are asked to educate our youth while still maintaining their sanity*

American Societal Double Standard

Let us compare two scenarios.  For simplicity’s sake, I am tightening up the role of a doctor and the medical field.  Please do not disregard the entire thread because of this:

A, part 1: A patient, unhealthy, goes to see the cardiologist.  The cardiologist does some tests on the patient (mandated by the people who recommends tests for patient care) and comes back to say the patient is not within the normal range and intervention is required.  The cardiologist puts the patient on medicine and reccomends a diet change and exercise regime to go with the new medicine.  The patient says they cannot afford their medication, but the doctor finds a program the patient can apply to in order to get their medication.  The patient says they cannot afford the healthy foods the doctor is now requiring.  The doctor provides information on ways to find healthy foods within the patients budget.  The patient says they don’t have time to work out; doctor cannot do anything about that but its still necessary for the patient’s improvement.

B, part 1: A student, below grade level, goes back to school.  The teacher does the initial testing (mandated by the people who recommends tests for student monitoring) and comes back and says the student’s scores are not within the acceptable range and intervention is required.  The teacher puts the student into a special intervention period and recommends daily practice exercises and occasional homework to help supplement the lessons as well as daily silent reading..  The student says they cannot afford the supplies for school, so the teacher refers them to the Communities in Schools program for resources.

A, part 2: The patient comes back to see the doctor for a follow up.  The patient’s blood levels have not improved.  The patient isn’t taking their medicine: they didn’t apply to the program.  The patient’s diet has not changed because the healthy good just doesn’t taste as good.  The patient has not been exercising because it’s “boring” and they “don’t want to.”

B, part 2: The student goes up for another round of progress monitoring.  The student’s academic skill lever has not improved.  The student has not been reviewing the material: they did not do the intervention work in class or the occassional homework.  The student has not been doing the reading because it’s “boring” and they “don’t want to.”

A, part 3: The patient, after repeated warnings and offers of help from the doctor, dies as a result of their untreated condition.

B, part 3: The student, after repeated parent contacts and offers to stay after school and help, fails the mandated state assessment, the class itself, and is still passed to the next grade.

End result for the cardiologist: They keep on doing what they’re doing and seeing great success with the patients who did take their expert medical advice.  Patients do not, as a rule, stop coming to the cardiologist because a patient chose to ignore the doctor’s advice.  There is no publication in the paper that “John Smith died because he did not listen to or follow his doctor’s advice.”

End result for the teacher: They are reprimanded because a child did not demonstrate grade level mastery of the content, regardless of the great success achieved with students who did take their expert educational advice.  All the paper’s publish is that the local schools failed to meet one benchmark; not a work about all the effort the school put in to getting there or the students’ effort or lack there of.  Parents who do not know the situation request their child has “anyone but” this teacher.

While the analogy is not perfect (I’m not a total expert in the medical field), it does hold up time and time again.  I fight day in and day out to help my students get to where they’re supposed to be so they can have a better life; I don’t really care all that much about their state assessment scores except that is the asinine marker of whether or not I am a “successful” teacher (and, in many districts, determines class placement for the coming year).  Americans die every day because we ignore advice from the experts in the medical field: eat healthier, stop smoking, etc.  Students fail every day because they ignore advice from the experts in the educational field: read more, do the assignments, pay attention in class.  Yet, I find that only one of these two professions is under constant and prolonged fire in our society: teachers.

Things I Wish My Students Knew: Your Teachers Say Stupid Stuff Too

A new component of this blog is going to be the “things I wish my students knew.”

Lesson one: your teachers say and do stupid stuff too. We try very very hard to help it, but we’re human. The magic is that we’re older, so we’ve done way more of them and we know how to handle ourselves.

I have two stories for you.

The first takes place last February. My car, being on the same battery it started with, occasionally did not like to start unless forced to do so. This particular Sunday, Rilla really did not want to start.

So, I called my friend J to see if she would come jump start my car. Our (paraphrased) conversation is below:

Me: “Can you come jump my car?”
J: “I think you should wait to take it to the dealership and find out what’s wrong with it.”
Me: “I know what’s wrong with it. The battery is dead.”
J: “But whatever is causing it to be dead could go from your car to mine.”
Me: “Say WHAT?”
J: “Cars have computers, and the virus that’s making your car sick could travel through the jumper cables from your car to mine.”

She teaches science :D.

The other story for today takes place at Cinderella’s Royal table in Disney World. We were having dinner, our group of friends. The princesses were coming around, and when Ariel showed up, she saw my hair and said “Are you a redhead like me?!”

Turning about 5 years old again, I smiled and nodded enthusiastically. (Side note: your teachers were children once upon a time too, and yes, sometimes, we all go on vacation together). Ariel looked at my strawberry colored hair and asked me if I brushed my hair twice a day with a dingle hopper too.

Now, I confess: despite my love of Disney, I haven’t seen the Little Mermaid in years. And I really didn’t remember too clearly what exactly a dingle hopper was. So, going off my (erroneous) assumption that dingle hopper was “shell,” I said: “Well, we live in Kansas so dingle hoppers are hard to come by.”

Ariel, so well trained, did not bat an eye. After we got our picture and she left, my friends oh so kindly informed me that dingle hopper is not, in fact, shell, but fork.

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My Horcruxes

I’ve been thinking on the concept of Horcruxes the last few days. It mostly happens when I’m packing for home, or weeding my garden, or looking at pictures of my friends.

I think I have Horcruxes. Obviously, Harry Potter mythology tells us that a Horcrux is an object where a witch or wizard has stored a piece of their soul so that they cannot die, but that the only way to split your soul in order you had to committ murder. The act of murder, because of its evil nature, divides the soul and allows one to store a piece of the soul.

I feel as though pieces of my soul are scattered across the country. Part of it is in the couches at St. James. Part of it is in Wesley Hall at Albion. Part of it is in the panhandle of Oklahoma. Part of it is in my classroom. These places are where my soul seems to reside, to be divided between. And what do they all have in common?

They are places where I have experienced great love.

These places safeguard my soul and keep a piece of it safe, so that when the soul residing in my body is down and depressed, those pieces of my soul that reside elsewhere keep me alive, keep me safe. Is it perhaps that Horcruxes can be made by the violation of the soul and its division in murder, but also the expansion of the soul in love? Is it possible there was simply too much love, so my soul put some of it in a place to safeguard it?

Dear Students

Dear Students,

There you sit, fresh faced from your summer vacation.

Well…most of you are bright eyed and bushy tailed, to quote my father. Some of you look like you’re going through detox, which, I confess, I understand: summer vacation detox is hard.

I watch you glance around the room, your eyes full of questions: “who are my peers? Who is this ginger (it’s actually auburn…you’ll learn to tell the difference) midget standing at the front of this room, smiling at us? Why are there truffula trees painted on the wall? Is she holding up a sarcasm sign? Now she’s moving again…lady, please just hold still for two seconds, yesterday I was still mid-REM cycle at this point.”

Some of you have been forewarned by your friends: “Ms. Bates is mean.” “Ms. Bates is strict.” “Ms. Bates…” Some of you may have even interacted with me during your seventh grade year at sporting events, pep assemblies, the talent show, the dance, Science Olympiad, in the hallways…the list is almost endless.

I hand you a document: Policies and Procedures, AKA How-To-Survive-In-Ms.Bates’-Classroom. You pretend to pay attention as we go through it. Somewhere in the back of your mind you make a mental note: need to sign and have parents sign. Hand signatures back in. Worth points.

What I want to give you is this: a list of promises. I won’t: you’d find it cheesy and roll the eyes that you’re trying so hard to keep open. But, I want you to know this list does exist.

~I promise you that I am here because I chose to teach and I did not settle.
~I promise you that I will make mistakes, and lots of them, from grading to scolding you when you weren’t doing anything scold worthy.
~I also promise you that I will apologize and own my mistakes, asking you to forgive me.
~I promise you that I will call or email your parents, even if my Spanish is lousy and they laugh at me for a month. This isn’t because I want to make your lives miserable: it’s because I want your life to be extraordinary. Your parents have you for much longer than the nine months you’ll spend with me, and I think it’s important they hear from someone who hasn’t raised them how their child is doing.
~I promise you I will call for the good as well as the bad.
~I promise you that though I might stay blank faced when you make that inappropriate (albeit hilarious) comment, I am appreciating the wit it took to make the pun, and I will tell my friends and family about it later.
~I promise you that I got in trouble daily for talking, so I am not judging you when I tell you to please stop. I’ve been there.
~I promise you that I will not try to micromanage your time in my classroom: so you spent ten minutes of silent reading time daydreaming about the cute young man or woman across the table from you? Been there, done that, turned out just fine. Just don’t make it a habit, make sure you get your work done, and it’ll be fine.
~I promise you I will expect nothing less than your best. I also know that you will have off days, because I know I do. We’ll get through them.
~I promise you I will keep your crush a secret, though I cannot promise you I won’t ask you what’s wrong with you in private.
~I promise you that I will do my best to seat you next to said crush if at all possible…I was 14 once too. Ask me about it sometime.
~I promise you that at the appropriate times, I will discuss our shared outside interests with you with enthusiasm; however, in the middle of notes about the parts of speech is not that appropriate time.
~I promise you, it is more important to me that you take away the life lesson of “when’s an appropriate time to discuss the cliff hanger those jerks on Sleepy Hollow left us with” than the lesson of what a subordinate clause is.
~I promise you that when I see you in public I will take my lead from you. If you want to just make eye contact and nod, I will do the same.
~I promise you that I will do my darnedest to only teach you what I think is actually going to matter in your life. Unfortunately, sometimes my hands are tied and I have to teach you about subordinate clauses, in which case I hope I teach you this life lesson: sometimes, life doesn’t just hand you lemons, sometimes life chucks lemons at you with great force. Catch ’em, juice ’em and make lemonade.
~I promise you that when you send me a “Thank an Educator Card” I keep them. I know some teachers display theirs in their classroom: I take them, I laminate them to protect them, and I put them in the pages of a scrapbook. When I’m having a bad day or wondering why I do what I do, I pull them out and remember your smiles, your words, the funny but inappropriate remarks you made, and I am heartened to try it another day.
~I promise you that you are not a number to me.
~I promise you that I have screwed up. Royally. Over and over.
~I promise you that if you need to talk, I will listen. Nothing is more important to me than you. If you need a shoulder to cry on, I will gladly let you do so. If you need someone to hold your hand while you tell your parents something, I will do that too.
~I promise you that if you need a butt chewing and are starting to become your own worst enemy, I have no problem issuing said butt chewing. I also have no problem reminding you that you are far better than you are acting. I will be your biggest ally as you turn it around, but I will not do the turning for you.
~I promise you that I will catch every plagiarism attempt. Don’t even think about it. Your words are what I want to hear: If I wanted to read the author you plagiarized from, I would! I want to know what you think.
~I promise you that I do not care if you are black, white, brown, yellow, red, orange, purple, green…you are my student and I am here because I want what is best for you. I will do my best to engage you, to support you, and to make darn sure you know you are capable of whatever you decide you want to do.

Most of all, students, I promise that I will give this my best, day in and day out. All I ask is that you do the same.

Friday the 13th

I had a wickedly weird week last week. I had to report a suspected abuse case. My co-STUCO advisor and I were witness to an automobile accident in which an officer rear ended an SUV. I just love giving witness statements.

Friday night was the first dance of the year; how is it already December? Where is this blessed year going? Anyway, we got set up, went to my house, and ate a quick dinner (God bless crock pots). We changed into our chaperoning clothes, and off we went.

The dance was evacuated twice for suspected gas leaks.

Still, that’s the worst we had. No behavior issues. Almost no parent issues. Life was good.

There was also a school shooting, which got me thinking: had an intruder entered the building, we would have been royally screwed. The safety lights do not turn off. Our students would have been sitting ducks.

Must contemplate the meaning of this.

55 Fiction

55 Fiction, written about our own personal treasures.

Ms. Bates: “An OCD Teacher’s Guide to Plan Period”

Check watch.
Adjust to classroom clock.
Lose blue pen.
Find another. Throw out black pen student left earlier.
Reorganize-organized desk.
Recycle unneeded papers before they cause massive confusion.
Three-hole punch and file needed papers in appropriate binder.
Re-alphabetize alphabetized binders.
Spell-check letter to parents.
Update updated website.
Straighten student desks.
Throw out paper trash.
Breathe.

Six Word Memoirs

Emma: Time with you is the best.
Emma: God made you perfect; don’t change!
Mya: People change; you don’t have to.
Mya: Love always hurts you, I’ve learned.
Jafet: For every problem there’s a solution.
Jafet: It’s better to run than fight.
Alfred: Bates is obsessed with Harry Potter.
Alfred: Water polo is soccer in water.
Joanna: Basketball is the best sport ever.
Joanna: CheyAnne is my favorite friend ever.
Manuel: Strawberry milk comes from pink cows.
Manuel: Ms. Bates wears really funny glasses.
Dayanara: Pickles are made of cucumbers: oh!
Dayanara: Brain and spine connected? Not mine.
Cristo: Ms. Bates is always being sarcastic.
Cristo: Manuel has a really big head.
Aaron Perez: Carnival was fun until I puked.
Aaron Perez: Birthday’s tomorrow; I’m gonna get jumped.
Delfina: Everything will be okay with time.
Delfina: Hard word, positive attitude, great results.
Meghan: So many tragedies these days…why?
Meghan: Don’t be invisible to the world.
Fatima: My smile covers all my pain.
Fatima: Your smile brightens up my day.
Andrew: Life is war; stuck in crossfire.
Andrew: Being intelligent always has a price.
Diego: Am who I am can’t change.
Diego: Glasses make my vision look HD.
Lucia: Life is hard but also fun.
Lucia: Underneath my happiness there’s also saddness.
CheyAnne: Nutella is the best thing ever.
CheyAnne: Keep your head up my beautiful.
Kennia: Use your brain don’t damage mine.
Kennia: Looked stupid but I did it!

Samantha: My food relationship status: It’s complicated!
Samantha: Justin Drew Bieber? He’s my husband!
Reylene: Faith is believing in something strongly
Reylene: Beauty is having a good heart.
Luz: Still hoping my dreams become reality.
Luz: Lea Michele is my biggest inspiration.
Esperanza: Music is life. Plain and simple.
Esperanza: Practice makes perfect, but perfect stinks.
Loammi: Broken into pieces and confused: HELP!
Loammi: Did I ask for your opinion?
Keenan: Some books are just plain boring.
Keenan: If everyone talked, who would listen?
James: Numbers, variables, loud class, that’s math!
James: Guns ‘N’ Roses, just no Bieber!
Moses: My art: cooking, design, and music.
Moses: Writing, creating are my stree relievers.
Oscar: Yolo, wahoo yeah! What is YOLO?
Oscar: Not again, I forgot my pants!
Lacey: One Direction…yup that’s my life.
Lacey: I am the future Mrs. Styles.
Jesus: If you can’t win keep practicing.
Jesus: Failure is not given to you.
Allan: Kids and alcohol, that’s a NO!
Allan: That’s really funny; tell it again.
Mariah: You gotta fly before you fly.
Mariah: Everyone’s beautiful in their own way.
Abby: I, too, share the name Unknown.
Abby: Looking for yourself is the hardest.
Carlos: School makes me want to die.
Carlos: When I eat, life is amazing.
Alejandra: Monday: the day you’re just “ugh!”
Alejandra: Hope’s something you have to achieve.
Destiny: Live life, laugh much, love always!
Destiny: Parents, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, family!

Kaitlynn: Love and friendship are not easy.
Kaitlynn: Compared to my boyfriend, I’m short!
Alejandro: Kansas, where the rain never comes.
Alejandro: Steelers are the best team ever!
Jacob: Football is very hard, get hit.
Jacob: Scared is a failure to me.
Aaron Dunlap: Pain is fear leaving the body.
Aaron Dunlap: Live simply so others simply live.
Ronnie: This is very hard to do.
Ronnie: If it’s hard keep on going.
Anna: I love to read fan fiction.
Anna: Crushing sucks because nothing ever happens.
Trey: Write too much, hand so cramped.
Trey: HGMS Hawks, the best school ever.
Raul: War is scary, get there now.
Raul: Ford, GMC, Chevy, Dodge Challenger: Cars
Daniella: Be yourself and be happy, please?
Daniella: Ignore drama, but don’t ignore food.
Carson: Eat, sleep, repeat. Eat, sleep, repeat.
Carson: Basketball season, where are you at?
Crystal: I am athletic girl in school.
Crystal: I don’t like my twin sister.
Peter: My life tries to help others.
Peter: Don’t ever kill my mojo Dude!
Raylyn: I just can’t live without you.
Raylyn: The sun will always come back.
Adrian: Bleeding blue and gold every day!
Adrian: Music helps when nobody else can.
Luiz: If you’re shy go say hi!
Luiz: War is hell so is life.
Stephanie: Parents are like your bodyguards: run!
Stephanie: Markered wall: I didn’t do it!
Hannah: You should always believe in yourself.
Hannah: You will always learn something new.
Yahir: You get what you work for.
Yahir: Basketball never stops, you stop playing.
Gyzelle: Zayn doesn’t know that we’re married.
Gyzelle: Hurtful words? Don’t take someone’s life.
Brenden: Drive slow, drive fast, just go!
Brenden: HG, KH: Sworn enemies forever on.
Yasmine: Motivation is an athlete’s best friend.
Yasmine: Music is probably my only solution.

Mr. Algrim: Drama, save it for the stage.
Ms. Bates: ‘Unanswered Prayers’ about says it all.
Ms. Clark: Tough lessons ‘learned’ keep us strong.
Ms. Flook: There ain’t no mountain high enough…
Ms. Kail: Life is fragile, handle with prayer.
Mrs. Naeve: Stress: a sign you’re still alive.
Mrs. Turner: God and family: all I need.

Back to spells and enchantments, potions and friends!

I think we're going back!

I think we’re going back!

Merlin’s Beard, someone please tell me how it is already SEPTEMBER 10th!? Didn’t summer start last week?

I moved across the hall to 113, a room double in size of 112. This year we are focusing much of our energy on character education (WHAT YOU DO MATTERS, WHO YOU ARE MATTERS) and investing in your future (YOU CAN’T REAP WHAT YOU DON’T SOW!).

I’ve got a double blocked class; instead of 6 47 minute class periods of reading, I have 3 94 minute blocks of English language arts. I get to teach writing, my heart and my passion.

We still have our “Oh the things we say!” board. I’m on it, already. I have the gambit of students and despite their orneriness I love them all dearly. Will the year be perfect? No, because I didn’t get on a train on September 1 at King’s Cross Station and go to Hogwarts…but still, I go backto the spell of a good story, the enchantment of the English language, the soothing potion of friendship and shared curosity (and all the Dr. Pepper they bring me as a bribe), and most importantly, friendship.