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monday, april 23, 2001
ancient history


i am beginning to wonder if i am far too old to be in the classes i am in at the uni. either that or i am far too well read.

seems to me these young students seem to have no idea on things i have known about for ages. today it was silver plating and a lot of these students are literature students! seniors even! some of the things they don't know floors me. hook and eyes, for clothing was the last one. am i wrong to think that english majors, especially those with a lit concentration, should have a clue about these things? or at least have a dictionary and take the time to look it up if they have no clue? i mean, i realize hook and eyes haven't been used in ages (at least ten years), although i could have sworn some clothing still uses them, but i know silver plating is still done today. along with gold plating. (i got blank stares for mentioning that one too).

ok, i know our kids are video addicted and tv raised, so maybe that's part of the problem. but if you are going to major in english, shouldn't you actually have some contact with it? maybe i am over read. with the stuff i have read i could start my own library. i mean seriously! tolkien, anthony, rawn, lackey, zimmer-bradley, forgotten realms series - and that's just some of the fantasy authors (very very very small some). i admit to not being a huge fan of other fiction, but still have read a ton of authors, and have been exposed to even more since i entered the uni. i used to be able to go through a single book in less than 2 days (500 page paperback). i admit to not being as voracious a reader now days, only because i am involved in so much more that i just don't have that kind of time. one of the things not taking up my time is tv and i don't let my kids take up their time that way either. they are encouraged to read or write or create. is this really so uncommon now days?

maybe i am a dinosaur. i have the silver hair to prove it even. i started my college career almost 20 years ago. took a ten-year break, then went back and finished my a.a. went to the uni, took an 18 month break. i hope to finish out my b.a. next june, my credential 2 years later and the masters after that. so yes, i am dating myself, and yes, i am old compared to most the other graduates in my class. heck, i am old compared to most of the graduates this year. but does it really make that much of a difference? why do these kids have an interest in english? they apparently never really read literature beyond what was assigned in school and maybe a few romances. a lot of them apparently have never written that much before taken a creative writing concentration. (my creative writing class went from over 20 students to about a dozen as far as i can tell, on a good day!) how do they choose their majors if not based on a love for the subject?

what scares me most is that a lot of these kids are going into teaching. they will be teaching my children with less knowledge than i have. and the schools say parents can't be better teachers than the school system? what is that!? i am at a loss to understand this.

speaking of ancient history/knowledge and school...did you know that the grammar rules we were taught in school are WRONG? seriously. remember those exercises to replace the word "said" for dialogue? throw them out. choose either an action to precede dialogue or stick with said as much as possible. how about, never end a sentence with a preposition. throw that out too. and here's the one i was always taught, never start two sentences in the same paragraph with the same word, especially back to back. forget it. all lies. all put in place by teachers to make their lives easier.

no wonder our kids can't read and write these days. they are a video generation. the parents give them tvs in their rooms and don't monitor what they watch. they aren't forced to entertain themselves with reading or activity. and in school the literature is nothing close to true literature and the grammar they are taught isn't real grammar but put in place by instructors and the textbooks published by instructors to make their teaching easier. who cares if it's false info?

now, before a bunch of teachers start in on me, let me say that i have nothing against teachers. my children have been blessed with some good ones. but if you are teaching what's in a textbook knowing it's wrong, then you are part of the problem. our kids can't spell, they can't write, they can't friggin find cleveland. most aren't ready for college and we're all responsible for that. if the textbook is wrong, then set it aside and teach the real stuff. there's no excuses for not doing that. none. i am going into teaching for the kids. yea, as far as i am concerned, the money's good. but if i didn't like kids and get along with them, no amount of money would be worth it.

it's time to turn off the tvs and video games. it's time for educators to stop dumbing down our kids' education. every kid deserves to be prepared for real and and for college, not just the gifted ones. it's time for us to insist that kids read everyday. it's time for us to take our kids' futures seriously. when they graduate and make their choices, they will be responsible for our futures as well. i'd really like to have my future in the hands of those who are well-educated.

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