Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas and a rant

Wish I had a camera... All the trees in the city park are wrapped with lights. So pretty and sparkly. I can turn around from my computer and see them out the window.

Since I can't show you the trees, here is a link to another bit of Christmas fun in my town.  Be sure to turn on your speakers and then click on the picture! (This link works even if you do not have a Facebook account.)

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays if you don't celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Happy New Year, too!

Disclaimer:   I did not get to finish college.  I am not a certified teacher.  I am not an expert, and I make mistakes.

Also, I'm not trying to make anyone feel bad if grammar isn't your "thing" or if you are a teacher.  I hope you will understand when (if) you get to the end of the rant.

I was recently asked by a friend/former supervisor/retired teacher to proofread a 77 page evaluation done by the teachers and advisory board of a local parochial school for its accreditation with some organization related to the church. (This school is already accredited with the state.)  The whole document is about how the school needs to push language arts, because for the past several years the students have scored low (on standardized tests) in all areas of language arts.  (For us "older" people, this is what we would have learned in English class.)

History:  This is the school where roughly 25 years ago, when I complained to the teachers that they weren't marking the punctuation, grammar, or spellings errors on my son's papers, I was told, "We only mark spelling errors in spelling class and grammar and punctuation errors in English class." (Believe me; I let it be known that wasn't acceptable.)

More History:  Jump forward about 15 years.  I was working at this same school as the reading "specialist" (and aide).  Along with other duties, I often taught reading, language, and spelling to third and fourth graders.  Most of the students used poor grammar (I seen, he done it, me and Jim gone to the store, etc.).  I'd been quietly correcting their grammar when they were answering questions or just talking.  Weeellll, suddenly we weren't supposed to do that any more.  "It was damaging to the child's self-esteem." 

My daughter (who is a college graduate and teacher of English as a second language) and I spent most of today editing the above mentioned document.  The sad irony?  Of the 77 pages in this evaluation, prepared by professional educators, there were only three pages that did not have mistakes or inconsistencies on them. Even the title page had a mistake. (We even let some things slide, and I'm pretty sure we missed some errors, too.)

Low scores, you say.

Rant over.


Barb said...


I love it when I see your name pop up on my favorites list!!

What a fancy fire truck! Grangeville must have lots of people on his nice list... ;0)

Educations has really taken a turn for the worse. I am usually appalled by the grammar in our schools, even the teachers use terrible grammar! Children's self-esteems would be better if they were not made fun of because they didn't know how to spell, write or speak correctly!!

Have a Merry Christmas!!


Madeline's Album said...

The schools have gone down since I was in school and my children were in school. Have a blessed day and a very Merry Christmas. Madeline

Vee said...

I hear you. The secretary of our local school sent out daily memos the likes of which were appalling. I often wondered if the teachers were picking up their bad habits by reading it.

How awful that you couldn't quietly correct the children just in passing. That, and exactly THAT, is how children learn. Just listen to parents teach their's the way it is. This self-esteem concern is unfortunate because one day there is the potential for some serious self-esteem issues in the workforce. Couldn't teachers simply say that they are here to teach and if a student says something wrong...everybody does...that the teacher will explain the correct way to say it?

All that and I have a particular pet peeve. The number of times teachers have corrected their students incorrectly. Example: Mom gave Johnny and me some money for Christmas. Corrected (incorrectly) to "Mom gave Johnny and I some money for Christms." Arrghhhhh...sends me every time. ☺

Hope that, between you and your daughter, you got them all straightened around.