Thursday, March 14, 2013

8th Grade Red Pen Teacher

In the 8th grade, we had a teacher who red-penned each and every mistake and each and every paper we handed in.

Self esteem be damned.

Punctuation, grammar and spelling had to be perfect and it became a breathtaking reward to get back a paper with no red on it, where she wrote, "Nice job!"

It was among the best 'trophies' I had.

This was in a by-gone era where awards went for achievement rather than for just...showing up.

We played "tag" and had to apologize to teachers when we interrupted class.  We were held responsible for homework not handed in and were expected to work for spending money. The only kids who got an "allowance", that is, money for breathing, were on television.

Recently, I read a report from one who holds a MA degree.  The report was riddled with grammatical error and I was tempted to pull out a red pen and send it back with the request that it be re-submitted with corrections.

This, however, might bring a union sanction and a paid trip to a therapist to help her recover her bruised self esteem.  I might have been accused of bullying and asked to provide copies of other reports that I have asked for correction.

Sadly, I let it be.

Someone sent me a professor's statement made on a public forum.  The college professor was making a point, about something I don't recall, because I was focused upon the improper use of "affect" and "effect" and the addition of "irregardless", which, my spell checker shows feint interest in.  His speciality is teaching young children how to read.

Why must I be so judgmental?  Why can't I embrace the the new text-speak language?

I think of the Chinese joke:

What do you call one who speaks three languages?

Trilingual.

What do you call one who speaks two languages?

Bilingual.

What do you call one who can only speak one language?

An American.

I look back, all those years ago, and wish I had worked harder at Latin.

Case of rum, case of rum, what can one do, anyway?

18 comments:

taicraven said...

This is so timely. I have just seen a screenshot of a Google search for the common affliction "lack toast and tolerant."

dadgum said...

Supposably, we are opposed to go to school to learn. But, for no pacific reason, many flail to do so. They are left floundering on the shores of edumacation.

lol taicraven..

Anonymous said...

Not only that, but teachers don't like it when you ax them a question.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the book, "Eats, shoots and leaves"...based on where you put the punctuation it could sound like a cute koala or a gangster... LOL

Anonymous said...

ITA great post. In the office where I worked for years I would hear others on their phones ask "where you at" made my skin hurt. I watched Jodie Arias use edify and other words incorrectly,she really thinks she's intelligent.
I attended school many,many years ago and the Red Pen Teacher would have been a good fit,we were also taught penmanship. My father wouldn't even allow me too refer too someone I was dating as a guy,he was too be referred too as a young man. I was also taught how I should stand and walk,as if there was a book on my head,even up and down stairs. Being a female that has served me well.
This is truly an amazing blog,and I thank you for all your hard work and dedication.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous said...
Not only that, but teachers don't like it when you ax them a question.

March 15, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Recall schools started teaching "Ebonics" as a credit?? /sad

Anonymous said...

When I was in grammar school I had a teacher that didn't like us using prepositions, such as don't, won't, etc. So, I got into the habit of using did not, and would not. After SA, I had to trash 40 years of leaving out these prepositions so my denials could be reliable.

Sus said...

I annoy my daughter about her facebook grammar so much that she posted this:

To my mom...
Then a picture from the movie "Jerry McGuire" and it says "You had me at the proper use of you're."

Anon, those are contractions, not prepositions. Prepositions show relationship: on, with, near, next. Thank you for allowing this retired teacher to feel at home for a minute.

The first thing I wanted my students to know was I'm seeking learning and growth from them. Mistakes tell us where to start, what to change. You'd be surprised how many middle schoolers believe they know it all and should defend a mistake to the end of time.

I don't mind text speak, and use it myself when I'm texting privately. When I post on a public forum, I try to use proper English. Sometimes my phone has a mind of it's own.

My ramblings. I appreciate your blog, Peter.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Not only that, but teachers don't like it when you ax them a question.

March 15, 2013 at 11:06 AM
....................

Racist much?

Skeptical said...

When did self-esteem become a goal in itself instead of an outgrowth of achievement? How can children learn to be resilient if they do not face the ordinary bumps and bruises of life? Just as the skin builds a callus from repeated irritation, mental resiliency can be built as life's challenges are met.

Parents are tenderhearted when it comes to their children. When their child hurts, they hurt too. Parents have to be strong enough to let their children experience the good and the bad.

TxTchr said...

Peter, I am a 6th grade science and social studies teacher. I count off grade points for incorrect spelling, capitalization, and ending punctuation. I've contemplated sending the following article called "What Every Teacher Wants to Tell Parents" to my students' parents, but sadly; administration wouldn't "have my back" if I did so. It would be great if you would post it on your blog. It's written by Ron Clark, who has been named American Teacher of the Year by Disney.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/06/living/teachers-want-to-tell-parents/index.html?iref=allsearch


Lemon said...

"lack toast and tolerant" hehehe

BostonLady said...

Anonymous said...

Anon: Racist much?

March 15, 2013 at 12:28 PM

No.

March 15, 2013 at 1:42 PM

*****
Anon at 12:28 - it is you who might be racist as you assumed that "Ax" would only be used by a specific group. "Ax" is used , unfortunately, but many. I cringe when I hear it.

Peter I had the red penned teacher too. It was a thrill to get a paper back with a "100" or A+ because we had to work for it.

And to taicraven, lol.. Lack toast and tolerant. wow lol

Lis said...

Anon said...
"Racist much?

March 15, 2013 at 12:28 PM"

I've heard people of all races use the term "ax" instead of "ask". It seems like your assumption that race is involved has denoted you as the one overly sensitive about racism?

Peter Hyatt said...

TxTchr said...
Peter, I am a 6th grade science and social studies teacher. I count off grade points for incorrect spelling, capitalization, and ending punctuation. I've contemplated sending the following article called "What Every Teacher Wants to Tell Parents" to my students' parents, but sadly; administration wouldn't "have my back" if I did so. It would be great if you would post it on your blog. It's written by Ron Clark, who has been named American Teacher of the Year by Disney.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/06/living/teachers-want-to-tell-parents/index.html?iref=allsearch


I love the weather of Maine. The summers are warm and winter is, well winter. Mud season is a bit much, but, give it some thought.

We could use you here.

Peter

Hobnob said...

Every so often here in the UK we get some know all saying children shouldn't have their spelling corrected as long as it sounds right it should be allowed.

Yeah Right.

Can you imagine the chaos if medical staff spelled medication the way it sounded?
How many deaths before someone decides medical staff must be able to spell words correctly.

When i worked in a cottage hospital, one of my jobs on a fri night along with the staff nurse was to go through the pharmacy cupboard and note what meds we had there, how much had been used and thus what we needed to reorder.
To do this job one had to be able to note only spell, one also had to be able to read and pronounce said names. many of them sounded almost identical the only difference being a Y instead of an I or an E instead of an A and vice versa.

What aboutin any of the sciences, law, emergency services and such like where reading and being able to spell correctly is vital.

English is one of the hardest languages to learn with many words being spelled differently but sounding the same or being spelled the same and having different meanings.

sow, sew, so.
Bow (& arrow) bow (to show respect) bow (string instrument)

Anonymous said...

I work in a veterinary hospital. People are er...creative filling in their dog breed. The best so far was a "true blooder Panamanian." She meant pure bred Pomeranian. Lol, I was picturing a foreign vampire dog.

Hobnob said...

Anonymous said...
I work in a veterinary hospital. People are er...creative filling in their dog breed. The best so far was a "true blooder Panamanian." She meant pure bred Pomeranian. Lol, I was picturing a foreign vampire dog.


Is this with or without the snazzy hat?