About a year ago, just before I started teaching at ASU, I went to Target and bought myself a big, fabulous pack of pens. They were perfect: 5 point gel tips in a nice assortment of colors. I like grading papers in color (who doesn’t?)
There must have been 30 pens in this pack, but I only have 2 left in my possession. If anyone out there is thinking of buying me a nice pen for Christmas, please don’t. I can’t seem to hold on to them. Obviously, the best colors disappeared first. I started out grading last fall with a green pen. I loved it, but then I left it by the copy machine at AECP. Soon, I saw another teacher with my pen. I couldn’t prove it was mine and she loved it so much that I couldn’t bring myself to tell her it was mine. Besides, I had a drawer full of cool pens.
I moved on to purple, then orange, then baby blue, and then pink. I lost them all. Now I only have a red one and a black one. The black one doesn’t work very well, so I write everything in red now. I know the red pen is a little harsh-looking, but I didn’t see any problems with using it at school…until this afternoon.
I was filling out midterm warnings for students who aren’t doing so hot in my classes, and another teacher told me that some students are offended by red pens. It turns out that some Asian cultures write the names of dead people in red. I asked some students about it, and they said that writing someone’s name in red is like wishing death upon them. Oops!
I guess I need to buy some new pens now.