Saturday 12 May 2012
I sat mortified yesterday, when I read a status update on a Social Network. The grammar was incorrect, the punctuation was just as poor, and I had to consciously work on restraining my head from smacking onto my desk with such force that I would require a new desk, or a new head, or both. I won’t directly quote the update, but I would like to explain that a university student wrote it – or, more correctly, a person studying one course in the hope that it gets them into the uni course that they really want to be in wrote it.
Of course, poor grammar and punctuation are nothing new where students are concerned. However, I think you’d all agree with me that it’s imperative that someone who is hoping to one day become a qualified, degree-holding, bona fide, educational professional, a.k.a. a teacher, would have some basic grasp of both. After all, they are going to pass on their skills to future generations of booger eaters . . . your booger eaters.
I don’t profess to be perfect. I bodge up my grammar and punctuation at times, but as a basic minimum, I can spell without the assistance of a spell-check facility (although, in my day as a student, we used to have these books called dictionaries that we could use to look up words. I still keep several on my desk – English, Latin, French, and Spanish), I know where a full stop should be placed in a sentence, and I know when to use where, we’re, were, to, too, two, there, their, and they’re. I could go on, but in the interests of brevity, and maintaining reader interest (assuming that I haven’t lost you already), I won’t.
So, I read the status update and after the my-head-wants-to-thump-itself-violently-against-my-desk standoff, I made a decision. In fact, it wasn’t just any decision, it was a potentially life altering decision.
If, in five or six years, this person graduates as a teacher, I’m quitting working in education.
Yep, it’s that serious.
I don’t think that I can be a part of a system that allows just anyone to work in education. If I had booger eaters of my own, I’d be disgusted that the person potentially teaching my booger eater couldn’t spell, or use correct grammar or punctuation. Call me elitist, or demanding, but I really think teachers should know how to spell and which ‘to’ to use.
What I’m also disgusted about is that this is not a one-off scenario. I know many teachers who cannot spell, and a number of them make jokes about it. ‘Oh, I rely on the other teachers to correct my spelling when I’m wrong . . . which is most of the time.’ Yeeeaaahhhh, when the person said that to me, I shook my head and thanked God I didn’t have any booger eaters who needed to be educated, particularly when the person in question had a good old laugh about their inability to spell.
Educators and the education system have enough to deal with, without being persecuted because universities are allowing people who can’t spell, and use conventions of the English language in a proper and correct manner into education courses. The majority of the press that the system and teachers get is negative – can’t control the booger eaters in the classroom, have too many holidays, get it easy, aren’t teaching the things that ‘we’ need booger eaters to be taught, blah, blah, blah – and teachers who are inept or below par will only add to the negative view many in society have of the education profession.
I was one of the very few people from my high school who was accepted into university. I was then one of the even fewer people who passed every university unit the first time that I studied it. I graduated with my first degree exactly when I should have done – three years after I began it. I graduated with a second degree a year after receiving my first. I worked my a$$ off to get good grades. I will not have my degrees mocked because the universities are passing people who should not be passed. And I will not work in a system that employs these same people once they have received their parchment.
So, I guess I’ve got five or six years to find another job, because I have a nasty suspicion that universities will continue to pass below par students, and employers will continue to hire them. Can I help it if I have high standards?