Pop quiz time!
1) You are a typical seventh grader. You receive a manageable assignment which is due in three weeks. You:
A) Complete it right away—no use wasting time!
B) Chart out your anticipated work trajectory, chipping away at it regularly for the next few weeks and finishing right on time.
C) Work on it here and there, spending most of the evening before it’s due finishing up.
D) Spent five minutes on it one day and then the night before get super-annoyed that your mother won’t just “edit it” for you (where “edit” means “do”) so that you can hand it in.
2) As a gifted student writing what is supposed to be a persuasive essay, you:
A) Make concise, declarative statements based upon facts and convictions.
B) Vary sentence structure throughout the piece, sometimes losing focus, but overall maintaining the theme.
C) Write a weak first draft but are able to overhaul it in editing to where you have a solid demonstration of your abilities.
D) Rely mostly on “I think,” “I believe,” “I would,” and a veritable cornucopia of passive voice atrocities to communicate that you might, maybe, kind of, have sort of a, like, you know, an opinion? On this thing?
3) After enduring your mother’s lecture about how you know better than to leave these things for the last minute and it’s really not her problem, you:
A) Apologize, beg for forgiveness and help, and swear you will never repeat such carelessness again because you see the error of your ways.
B) Apologize, beg for forgiveness and help, cry a lot.
C) Insist that you DID actually work on it but really you didn’t have much time and it’s not your fault that the work you did kind of sucks, beg for help.
D) Yell and scream at your mother that she doesn’t UNDERSTAND and it’s going to be HER FAULT when you get a bad grade. Because she’s MEAN.
4) After you work and weep at the keyboard for a while, your mother falls and hit her head rather hard, resulting in an offer to help you edit once you have your work mostly done. You:
A) Thank her profusely; work extra hard; present her with a mostly-polished essay that needs only minor tweaking.
B) Thank her; work as quickly as possible; present her with the finest writing you can produce in fifteen minutes.
C) Say “Fine;” cobble together a few almost-complete thoughts; present her with half an essay and then argue about whether or not it’s done.
D) Mutter darkly about how you’re going to get a terrible grade and it’s all her fault; produce a single paragraph that may or may not have been written in Pig Latin; email it to her with a note that, “It doesn’t matter, I’ll just fail.”
5) During the editing process, you:
A) Accept feedback graciously and diligently revise your work so as to get the best possible grade.
B) Accept feedback with a mostly open mind and make changes with a minimum of complaint.
C) Argue about grammar. (With your mother. Who is a professional writer.) Crack jokes about your spelling errors. Suggest you actually MEANT to write entirely in sentence fragments and she is ruining your “style.”
D) Argue about everything. Cry. Make up facts and then argue about whether or not they’re ridiculous and obviously false. Halfway through, when asked “What’s the point you’re trying to make with this piece?” just shrug and say, “I have no idea.”
6) Hours later, after your mother has saved your butt yet again (and probably should’ve just left you to your own “Like, you know” devices), you’re nearly finished with your assignment! It just needs a strong conclusion. You’re almost there, so you:
A) Finish up, thank your mother profusely, and head to bed feeling proud of the work you’ve done.
B) Struggle a little, but complete the assignment, thank your mother, and go to bed relieved.
C) Write a conclusion that demonstrates you have learned exactly nothing, necessitating further editing, then complain about it and stomp off to bed.
D) Crack jokes, write a conclusion that not only makes Strunk and White cry but also makes absolutely no sense, act bewildered when your mother throws her hands in the air in surrender and orders you to bed, stomp off swearing to get up early to finish. (Note: Don’t get up early! You can continue the fun in the morning if you oversleep!)
7) You are the mother of a 7th grade student. Repeat after me:
A) No good deed goes unpunished.
B) I already went to 7th grade. But you have fun!
C) I’d be happy to help you next time if you don’t wait until the last minute.
D) No habla InglÃ©s!
(One of these days, I’ll learn. Maybe.)