Thursday, September 8, 2011

Will Our Kids be Ready for College? Are English Teachers Really doing their Jobs?

I am sitting at the table with Kayla while she’s rewriting her 7th grade Language Arts assignment and I’m fairly upset with the English teacher{s} that she has and has had.  Her assignment is to write 5 paragraphs about a family member that they wished they would have gotten the chance to meet before he/she passed away.  {she chose my granddaddy
While at dinner I ask to read her paper and she brought it to me.  I first remarked that she would have to rewrite it because she wrote it in red ink.  You can NEVER write a paper in red ink!  How else are you supposed to see the teachers markings/corrections?  She was completely unaware of this.
After I made punctuation corrections and remarks asking for more details etc. she was lost.  I happen to ask her if she’s ever had to write a rough draft for any of her writing assignments and she said no.  She said that the teachers always give out the assignments and then the date that it’s due.  She said that when she gets her papers back they have punctuation corrections and the grade that’s already been recorded in the grade book.  And the point of the punctuation corrections they took time to mark up is for what reason now after a grade has been given?
This really saddens me.  What happens in college?  You write essays all the time.  How do teachers expect the kids to know how to write an essay when they haven’t been taught how to do so?  They can’t.  Would reading rough drafts for 20 kids and marking them up really be that big of deal? 
What are teachers teaching these kids in English class these days?  And we wonder why other countries are leaving America behind in education. It’s really no wonder! 
While I’m on the subject of English and Language Arts I’m still pretty ticked off about cursive writing being left behind!  I know that we use computers a lot these days.  But do we really not want to teach our kids how to write in cursive?  Kayla touched on it in 3rd/4th grade a few times but she has never been made to write anything in cursive.  I remember hating to write my final drafts because they had to be in cursive.  Now everything is supposed to be printed neatly or typed.  Will our kids/grandkids/so on never be able to sign their names on mortgages and car loans?  I guess that printing your name will be the new “John Hancock”. 
I guess I am taking it upon myself to teach Kayla how to write papers and to practice her cursive handwriting.  Maybe we all should take it upon our selves to teach our kids at home.  I know that I’m going to start giving Kayla writing prompts a couple of times a month so that I can teach her how to write!


Nichole @ The Pumpkin Seed said...

I never leave anonymous comments so most of the time I just bite my tongue and click away from a blog when I get upset. Today I can't.

I'm sorry but I cannot follow your blog anymore. I'm not saying that's a big deal to you but I just wanted you to know. I've read many posts here that put down teachers and I won't continue to do so anymore.

I do understand that it is your blog and you have the freedom to write about whatever you choose. So, please don't think I'm trying to say your feelings are wrong.


Joanna said...

Nicole - I have never commented anybody back on my own blog {I usually do so via email} but I feel as if I need to respond so that everybody can read this. I am sorry that I have lost you as a reader. My post was never meant to offend anybody. Your right I am entitled to my own opinion. However I do feel that our educational system is failing. Not ALL teachers are bad teachers. I know of a few great ones that both my kids have had. But I do not think that it's fair to my kids or others that aren't learning what we did when we were in school. Learning less than we did is not better. Does it make sense to send a child into this world without an education? No. Doesn't it make better sense to teach our kids everything that we possibly can when they are in school so that when they are in college and beyond they have the knowledge that they need? Yes. I do know that there are too many teachers these days that are in it simply for the abundance of vacation days and so forth. They don't teach but simply pass out papers and assign work and could care less what their students learn. It is sad!! And it is already proven that other countries are leaving the US behind when it comes to education.

A-K said...

I agree with you Joanna, totally. Not all teachers are bad {you even gave props where props were due in your post-AND you remembered Ms. Levi because she made an impact}.

When I was in college, I was SO grateful for the teachers who taught me well, and for the others {sadly, there were more bad teachers than good} I was IRATE. I felt like I spent all those hours, all those years as a waste! And I was was a waste.

There are more than PLENTY terrible teachers out there as I'm sure everyone can agree on.

Tenure for for the birds. Talk about a GREAT reason to slack and not give a damn.

And if Nicole is a teacher and a good one...then great! If she likes to slack and not take her role in kids life seriously- then I can see why one may get offended by your comments.

Middleschool and highschool are vital times to really teach life skills and educational learning/study skills to kids. THEY WILL need it! Count on it!

I think its good that you are taking time to teach her on your own. But its sad too, that Kayla has to focus on even MORE extra work to do at home. Everyone needs a wind-down time, a time to create and do things a they love and that THEY get to pick- whether its a book of interest {not one a teacher pics}, drawing/painting, playing outside etc. Not to be RE-LEARNING what should of been taught in class to begin with.

Simply Kelly said...

You daughter is lucky to have a mother who understands the importance of writing skills and helps her become a better student. I disagree slightly about cursive writing. It's difficult to read and I would rather teachers spend time improving writing skills, then taking the time to teach a font that difficult to read. Additionally in high school and in college all papers will have to be typed, so better to take the time to improve writing skills then worry about cursive writing.

Kelli @ RTSM said...

I think I remember writing rough drafts and then swapping with a classmate to correct errors. That always seemed to help without making the teacher grade each and every paper twice. I also remember the teacher's checking for technical stuff but not content first and then letting us correct it. I'm kind of iffy on the whole cursive handwriting is terrible so I wouldn't be too sad if cursive was gone forever:) I do think they at least need to teach kids how to sign their own names, but really I think the kids do that themselves. Henry proudly brought home a paper the other day where he had written his name in "cursive" just because he wanted to!