I often refuse to quit, even when it would be in my best interest. I will run until I puke, instead of walking for a while. I will doggedly continue through a paper cycle, working through the weekend so my students get their papers back on time. I just don’t like to give up.

But this time, I really bit off more than I could chew.

I took my last graduate school class almost 10 years ago. When I was in school, I studied literature. All of my theoretical background is literature based. I haven’t read any composition and rhetoric theory since I trained to be a teaching assistant in 1998.

What does all of this mean?

It means that I am woefully under-prepared to write a theory based article for our freshman comp instructors. And the breadth of knowledge that must be surveyed in order to incorporate the right theory into my article proved to be more than daunting… it turned out to be downright impossible.

I tried to write the article last night. And the writing itself isn’t really a problem. I have a great topic. I am excited about doing the research. But I just don’t know enough theory for my essay not to seem hacked together. And nothing is more unforgivable in academia than sloppy scholarship. I sat there, with all of these thoughts swirling around in my head, and I had no idea where these thoughts had come from. That is simply a recipe for disaster… for plagiarism, to be exact.

So, I quit.

But, on the positive side, I realized that I enjoy rhetoric and composition theory. And that I have a lot to say about my classroom experience—particularly about the FCAT and student agency. And that I need to read A LOT more theory, in order to say anything that will be taken seriously.  Oh, and I won’t embarrass myself in front of my colleagues by turning in an article that is sub-par (my perfectionist nature cannot tolerate sub-par, you realize).

Perhaps I didn’t really quit, as much as I postponed this project until I can do the topic justice.

In the meantime, the Purdue conference preparations await my attention. Blogging as a gateway to academic discourse and the identification of “self” as writer… let the research begin!

Ed. Note:  For those of you who want to read about dinosaurs, come on back tomorrow.  Rawr!

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One Comment on “Quitter”

  1. monkeymonkito Says:

    Kenny Rogers had something astute to say in a circumstance similar to this very one.

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