Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Litracy

"Sister", I asked, "how come Grandmother and Mother could and can write copperplate script, with correct grammar, correct spelling, nicely constructed sentences and something that is agreeable to read when they had minimal education? They certainly weren't read to as children. Do you have an answer Sister?"

"Crowded curriculum, Brother. We don't have the time."

What would Sister know. She teaches 16/17 year old boys who are generally quite privileged and attending a posh private school. I am scratching my brain now. Where else did Sister work? She worked for the advertising company, Monahan Dayman and Adams, the Adams being the Phillip Adams on Radio National. She washed dishes in a Chinese restaurant. She worked at a bank. I remember this because she got us very cheap travel insurance once when we went overseas. But as far as I can recall, she has only worked at the same school, teaching the same subjects to the same aged boys for what must be twenty years.

Given how many ex school teacher readers I have, I should probably keep my gob shut, but at times I do wish Sister did not treat her family like they are teenage school children. I am afraid it is a trait of school teachers.

This was supposed to be about education, instead it has turned into the personal. R is always p'd off with Sister for various reasons. At times he has a right to be p'd off with off with her.  I am a little more forgiving. I called her early in the week to discuss family matters and Bone Doctor answered. We had a chat and I then asked if Sister was available. She is putting Little Jo to bed and reading her a story. Then, it wasn't,  is it ok if she calls you back tomorrow night, but she will call you back tomorrow night.

Oh, ok.

She did call back the next night, but had BD had said is it ok? instead of she will, well, it would have made all the difference. Words, they are so very important.

23 comments:

  1. Words ARE important. I learned spelling and grammar by rote, in a sing songy voice with the rest of the (huge) class. It isn't rocket science, but it does need to be given a priority by the Education Department.

    The other thing that is extremely irritating is poor speech. If young people fill their sentences with fillers eg "like" and "you know", I cannot understand what they are saying and I stop listening.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was going to start my reply as hels did
      WORDS ARE IMPORTANT

      That's why we blog

      Delete
    2. Hels, I don't remember being taught a lot about grammar and even only very occasionally spelling. I must have picked most of it up from reading. The like and the you know become terrible habits that are very difficult to stop.

      John, touché. It is a given that those with written blogs like words.

      Delete
  2. Hels, I bet you can tell me 7 times 9 = 63 without hesitation.

    TO has a tendency to lecture about all things anatomical and medical, but we now have a "safe" word when it is time for her to stop victimising others.
    Better yet, she recently came home and told me someone had been lecturing her and now she understands.

    As for myself, I was told many years ago that I always go into too much detail about things. I sulked for a very long time before someone showed me how to blog.

    I would be very disappointed if you decided to keep your gob shut.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FC, I have lasted this long. I think I can go on for a bit yet. It is not that R doesn't care or wouldn't listen, but I find being able to write a great relief.

      Delete
  3. Ha ha my Dad was/is a teacher and we always shouted at him "stop treating us like we're one of your school kids". He didn't do it all the time, but it did happen!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Fen, I can imagine. R sometimes used to treat me like 'a client'.

      Delete
    2. I try very hard not to treat people like clients. I also tell my friends I am not there to be their counsellor, boundaries!

      Delete
    3. Ah yes Fen, now as an older gay man I feel I am at a fork in the road of life..........

      Delete
  4. Words are important, like the others said, where would we be without them?
    It's amazing the difference ten years can make, when I was in school, we had a spelling test each Friday morning to be sure we had all learned and understood that week's spelling list. We even had to write homework essays using those words. Yet when Andrew was in school, he had no regular spelling tests. These days there is so much emphasis on too many other things, that basics such as grammar and spelling are glossed over or forgotten.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, our teacher was a bit old fashioned. By the time I left primary school, I think spelling and writing had gone out the window and it was certainly not picked up in secondary school. I agree, the curriculum needs to be refined. English, Maths, History, Geography and Science can cover everything.

      Delete
    2. I would add languages and computer programming to that list, and an hour of physical education or at least exercises per day. But with things like spelling and basic Math, repetition is the key and needs to start at grade one level.

      Delete
    3. River, I see languages as beneficial, but good English must be the prime matter. Computer programming no. I put that with calculus. Only those who will need it need to learn it. Kids grow up with computers now. They don't need to know how they work. Yes, phys ed is good, but don't force them to play sports.

      Delete
  5. It's hard to imagine that students slip through the net and manage to go through primary and high school, coming out after all those years almost illiterate..how can that happen?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, I can understand it with the really socially disadvantage, but as I am sure you know, it is not just that class of people. It mystifies me too. I think primary school is where it really matters, but it is not just the school's job.

      Delete
    2. It's because classes/kids are no longer allowed to be seen as competitive. Children cannot be left to repeat a year in case they or their parents are "made" to feel as if they were/aren't good enough. Well, to that I say "tough". If the kid didn't or couldn't learn first time round, the grade should be repeated so he/she does learn. When I was in primary school, a few children were kept back and no-one thought too much of it.

      Delete
    3. Yes, River, every child must be a winner. I don't agree with it and I don't think it does anything beneficial for child when they reach adult years.

      Delete
    4. I think parents need to take more responsibility also don't you think ?

      Delete
    5. Without doubt Grace. Read to them. Read to them a lot.

      Delete
  6. Think about sports. In years past the winner of the race got the medal/ribbon. The best and fairest on the field got the medal (footy). These days all the kids get a medal or trophy just for being in the team. Everyone gets a prize for trying or turning up, even the kid who is hopeless and sits on the bench for the season. The discrimination people have a lot to answer for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't mind participation medals, as long as the 1st, 2nd and 3rd get the big shiny ones and due recognition.

      Delete
  7. When I was in the upper grades of primary school, we had to go to the Principal's office every Friday to do a spelling test.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No doubt partly to do with why you spell well now, Vik.

      Delete