Daughter’s 1st day of (elective) public high school. Honors English teacher sends back papers to sign with multiple grammar errors. WTF?

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  1. I got so irritated with my kids’ principal sending home tragically worded newsletters that I edited one and sent it back in with a note that I was available to proofread. Since then, they have been drastically improved!

    1. Heh. Stacey and I took the red pen to it before signing it.

  2. that is pathetic…

    .. I guess if the public schools by you are really that terrible, I can understand a bit more your opposition to them.. My public high school teachers were excellent..

    Of course, writing skills (amongst the students) have taken a severe nosedive in the 8 years I’ve been teaching here at the University… something that I would generally link to the move away from teaching the basics of grammar (noun/verb/object: subject/predicate etc…) to students.

    I had to diagram sentences from 3-8th grade.. and although it seemed tedious–it did give me an understanding of just what the fuck words are..

    1. Re: that is pathetic…

      There are a more than one ways to achive grammar mastery: I didn’t do a lot of rigorous diagramming in school, just a little when I was pretty young. But I read a *ton* of books, many of them from the 19th century. If you read enough you eventually pick up a sense of what scans and what doesn’t by osmosis.

      What I don’t get is how you can get to be an Honors English teacher without taking any of those paths to mastery. I didn’t even go into the uniformly awful style the syllabus was written in (it could have won a prise for egregious use of passive voice).

      They tell me our school district is excellent and highly sought-after, at least by teachers. And all our friends who went say it’s a great high school.

      Thankfully I don’t entertain any silly notions about her classroom education having anything to do with our daughter’s future success. She’s already skilled enough in a half a dozen fields to make a decent living if she put her mind to it. She’s just there for the experience. So I can laugh at the systemic incompetence without throwing a moral outrage muscle.

      1. interesting…

        I totally agree that you can pick up grammar through a variety of different means. For me, the flat out structure and diagramming was very helpful–it’s how I usually approach stuff.

        The “osmosis” method–as ou describe it–doesn’t actually work for me at all in trying to pick up underlying rules. It merely frustrates me to learn in such a fashion.

        Interestingly–this seems quite closely related to some of our bigger differences when it comes to education. You, from all that I can tell, are a much bigger autodidact than I am.. and you learn best when you get to pick up things through your own analysis and at your own pace. I, on the other hand, prefer a more structured environment where you are generally given some forthright insight into the underlying rules–and then am told to go learn how to apply them on various subject materials.

        Not surprisingly–these different styles seem to correspond quite closely to our different views on education..

        Anyway.. as for being an Honors English teacher–I think that has less to do with being a grammar master (or even just a grammar journeyman) than being able to get through the various hoops–mostly bureaucratic–to get the position. There are so many people that I know who love English–love to read, talk about literature, etc–who are absolutely TERRIBLE WRITERS and whose mastery of the written word is far less than their love of reading and talking about “Englishy” type stuff.

        In any case–if your daughter takes after you and has learned the skills of learning for herself–which I quite easily imagine she has–then, yes, high school will have little to do with her future success.

        For me–high school was merely a tool that I used to practice my analytical skills with.. and luckily I went to a school that allowed this to happen–and actually encouraged it–not specifically through the school itself–but more because I was surrounded by a group of at least 100 other highly motivated students who, in many ways, created a competitive learning world. That–and some good teachers to boot–are what made my high school experience great.. Hopefully your daughter will also find such a group..

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