Saturday, February 6, 2010

Grammatically speaking

I just cannot come to terms with the state of grammar (and, coincidingly, the acceptance of the lack thereof) today.  I know that's young and naive and old-fashioned of me (all at once!), but it comes up in so many different forms all the time, and they all make me very sad.

Two important ones:
1. You and your business.
I would probably be very interested in what you have to say.  In fact, there's a couple of you out there where I AM VERY interested in what you have to say.  I am obsessed with your product.  But you don't know the difference between "its" and "it's," you misspell common words, and forget about correct comma and apostrophe usage.  And that makes me profoundly sad.  I know grammar is going out the window, especially with all these standardized tests in public schools that don't test grammar, especially with the internet that doesn't care about convention, just straight text-to-speech where no one cares how it looks, as long as it's understandable (which, you know, it is).  I just know that in a simpler time, in the good old days, we wouldn't patronize a business that didn't appear educated.

2.  Um, a legal document.
So there's this thing called the IEP.  Individualized Education Plan.  The end-all, be-all legal document that details a student's special education accommodations, modifications, services, testing, goals, and progress.  And yes, copy-and-paste rears its ugly head, and we have dudes being called by ladies' names and pronouns and vice versa.  That is careless and unprofessional.  But what crosses those lines into unforgiveable are things like "ciculator," "multiplicatin," and "Although [student] has som good calculation skills, he nedds to be reminded to apply them. He quite frequently rushes through and does not check his work. often, his poor test grades reflect this test taking behavior."  Not a joke.  Straight from the IEP itself.  The kicker to this gripe is that I was advised not to fix this.  Now.  This document lives.  It is passed among many hands: teachers, therapists, parents/guardians (frequently grandma, uncle, etc).  I offered to fix what I saw, but I was told to leave the wrong ones and make sure mine were fine.  Mine will always be fine, and it broke my heart that the system wouldn't want a united, correct front presented to parents but that vicious 'every man for himself' mentality.  It continues to blow my mind that teachers are so frequently incorrect.  Not that we're superhuman, but I firmly believe we are and should be held to higher standards.  We instruct.  Shouldn't the instructors be the best at the subject at hand?  It seems obvious for the high school and AP teachers among us.  But shouldn't elementary school teachers be the most correct and the strictest about the big concepts as well as the important details?

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