In today’s news of things that should never have happened, a Maryland English teacher had the bright idea to ask her students how they would kill her, because that would be a great grammar exercise. The assignment did have some guidelines, like students had to include at least three gerunds, three infinitives, and three participles, so it wasn’t just straight-up murder fantasies, I guess. I mean I love Law & Order and murder mysteries as much as the next person, but how any teacher could think this assignment was even in the realm of appropriate is just beyond me.
The teacher in question, Patricia Lorenzen, gave the murder assignment (which I would like to hereby refer to as “Murder, They Wrote”) to not one, but four different classes. Four! And to make things worse (or better, depending on how morbid your sense of humor is), Lorenzen didn’t even think that Murder, They Wrote was a bad idea until a bunch of parents pointed it out.
I don’t know about anybody else but my main concern, aside from the fact that the task is just plain weird, is what type of person would actually want to read about the myriad ways their students fantasize about killing them? How could you look at your students the same way, knowing that little Billy said he’d slit your throat or that Sally wrote about smothering you in your sleep with a pillow?
Okay, maybe those examples prove that I am the one here who is truly depraved, but still. I can understand wanting to make a “fun” and “quirky” assignment for your students, but homicidal stories definitely do not fall under either of the aforementioned categories.
Eventually, Ms. Lorenzen did issue an apology, saying that although she thought the assignment would be “an engaging way to review some grammar concepts,” she admitted, “it was not appropriate and should not have happened.” The students who had written the assignment before the apology was issued received full credit, and the rest were excused. The school’s principal reports that there haven’t been any problems with Lorenzen’s assignments since, so at least this story has a happy ending. Aside from the fact nobody was actually killed, I mean.
As for why we're all just hearing about this now, given the fact that the matter seems to have been resolved back in November, that may be the real mystery.