Friday, April 2, 2010

The Upper Left Corner

 So this morning, I was reading Brittany Ann's post about spring break, and she casually mentioned her students writing their name in the upper left hand corner of the paper. And it made me laugh out loud, because it reminded me of a story that is too good not to share.

I think that I have mentioned on this blog that growing up, I was a pretty big nerd (and still am). I was one of those kids with a big vocabulary, who as a toddler used to tell her parents that she 'preferred not to go to bed just yet'. A strong-minded toddler who at about age 5 or 6 told her grandmother that the fact that she was old didn't make her opinions any more valid than mine (I heard about this one for years). I was THAT GIRL who went to the public library and checked out the maximum number of books I was allowed to check out. And when I decided that wasn't enough, I asked the librarian to increase my limit. I was the nerdy teenager who wanted to take AP Psychology, but because my school didn't offer it, I taught myself the material on my own, and took the AP test. The school thought that I was nuts, but I scored well enough to get college credit for it. I was the girl who was DEVESTATED to get a C in Physics--the one subject that I just couldn't understand no matter how hard I tried.

Get it? I was a serious nerd. I lived for the approval of my teachers, and I really tried to be respectful towards them. But like most nerds, I was a little...quirky.

And the one thing that I just could not get over? Writing my name in the upper left hand corner of the paper.

All through elementary school, we wrote our name in the upper right hand corner of the paper. It was balanced. It looked good visually. It became so ingrained in me that I could do it without even thinking. I knew exactly where on the page to start writing my name so that there was enough room for my long first and last names. I could do it in my sleep!

But sometime between middle school and high school, the teachers suddenly wanted us to write our name on the upper left hand corner of the paper. Was this a change to the MLA guidelines or something? I never understood the reason for the switch. And it really, really bothered me. For awhile, I really tried to write my name on the upper left, but I just couldn't do it. I just looked wrong to me. It felt unbalanced. It absolutely drove me nuts. So I started writing my name in the upper right hand corner again.  Most of my teachers really didn't care. My English teacher, on the other hand, cared very much.

Every assignment would come back with a score of 98 and a big red circle around my name. Next to it, she would write ' -2 points. Name in wrong location'. I kept doing it anyway. Until finally the teacher called me up to her desk to demonstrate how and where to properly write my name. And do you know what I said to her? {Admittedly, it was pretty sassy and probably inappropriate to say to a teacher} I told her, "I KNOW where I'm supposed to write my name. But I don't like doing it that way. So go ahead and keep docking me those two points, because I don't need them anyway." And I got a 98 on every assignment in that class for the rest of the year.

That teacher must have despised me.


  1. I am pretty sure we are the same person. I was the nerd with the max books at the library, reading all of the time for fun, getting 100+% on vocab tests (and loving them), and I took college Econ and engineering calc at a nearby college because my high school didn't offer college credits for them.

    But I could NEVER get physics. I, also, got a C and it was my worst grade ever. John is a super math/science nerd and understand physics like no other. I recently found one of my HS physics tests that I got a 40% on and showed it to him. He was baffled.

    Oh.. and I got in trouble in HS by the English teacher for writing in all caps... it just LOOKS my aesthetically pleasing to me!

  2. I also got a C in Physics. I think it was because of the one and ONLY A I ever got on a test that allowed me to get that C too. I sucked at Physics and could never understand it either.

  3. Try being left-handed in a world where the desks, papers, and pencil sharpeners were setup for right-handed people....
    My sixth grade teacher used to slap my hand with a ruler because I was "using the wrong hand" which meant that I would never amount to anything....
    Starting from the left side makes perfect logic to me. That is the direction you read L----->>>----R.

  4. Maybe you won't believe this after living with me in college (haha), but I was also similar to you as a youngin'...maybe I still am a bit. "Their" are still some things that really bother me "to".

  5. Oh that is hilarious! I was semi that way as well- spelling bee champ, vocab nerd, speed drill champion!

  6. I don't recall any of my teachers ever really caring about the name thing. I transitioned to left-side of the paper somewhere around early college, when all the writing I did was on the computer and it was too much of a hassle to set up tabs on the right (so that everything was still justified along the left--see, I've got my quirks, too). Now, it looks kind of weird to me to see names on the right, but some kids still do it. As a potential future professor, I can't imagine myself caring, as long as it's discernible what the assignment is and who wrote it. Same with footnotes. As long as it's consistent and attribution of sources is clear, I can't imagine myself getting too upset about it.

    That said, I am myself a major stickler for CMS footnotes in my own writing. (CMS being the style of choice of the history profession.)

  7. That's hilarious!!! I never wrote my full name, like I couldn't write out Alyssa, it was always A. Holyfield. Our phrase in high school was, "Physics is the devil" but we had AWESOME teacher that worked with all of us. College econ was the only C I ever got.

  8. Freaking hilarious. I love this story Mer! OMGosh. Love it.

    I also maxed out my library books too lol!

  9. Left you something over at my blog. :)


Thanks for visiting La Buena Vida and taking the time to leave a comment--I love hearing from you!

Please know that you do not need to agree with me in order to leave a comment! All comments that are respectful and not anonymous will be published. Thanks again for visiting!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Blog Archive


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.