Sniff... 9:53 a.m. 2004-01-15

Current Listening: Thyme Out by Katie Fforde
Current Reading: Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Current Reviewer:
Recipe of the Day: Crock Pot Sauerbraten, Mexican Chicken Casserole, Berries Au Gratin

A couple of months ago, I thought I might put my name on the list of a couple of review sites. For those of you who don't have blogs, a review site is one where a person agrees to go to your blog and critique it. I have avoided doing this for some time, mainly because I like my blog design. Since I designed it for myself, I shouldn't care what other people think. Right? Besides, I have already have already heard about how bright it is from my husband.

Still, I go to other sites, and see the links to reviews. It seemed like the thing to do. The only problem is that they expect a link. So I decided to do them one at a time - hence, the "Current Reviewer" link above. Then, I would worry about having a separate page for them - if I decided to go on with this nonsense.

Which I haven't. Decided to go on, I mean. Yep, that's IT with me and the reviewers. (at least, for now)

And here the rant begins.

After a month or two of waiting, I finally got a review from Starry Reviews. Here is what it said (and, because I am particular about these things, I have left the spelling as is - just didn't want anyone to think I did it!):

Journal: tiedyefor's journal

Composition: At first I was freaked out when reading your journal. You sounded ALOT like one of my old teachers. None the less, you sound like a great teacher you have your head on your shoulders. And you sound like you can relate to your students.

This entry was pretty cool. I didn't skim any of it. It sounded delicous.

Overall, your writting wasn't to bad: 150/300

Appearance: I don't like your layout at all. It's to yellow. And to bright. My eyes hurt. I don't get the whole flower thing. Kudos and points for you making it. But still. The layout in my opinion just wasn't what I cared for. Score: 20/200

Total Score: 170/500, 34%

By Leah :o)

Note: Sorry about the long wait. I had a family crisis. And computer problems!

What!!!!!! A person who cannot even spell or form complete sentences is telling a LANGUAGE MAJOR who has written papers in two different languages (-and did I mention my NOVEL?) that her "writting wasn't to bad"? Then she gave me a 50% (that would be 150/300!) in Composition? She said that I sounded like one of her old teachers - maybe it is revenge!

We won't even go there with the layout - I have already said my piece about that.

In the interest of enlightenment, I went to the Starry Reviews website, where they are kind enough to include a short statement written by each reviewer. Here is mine:

Leah:

I am just your average 16 year old girl. About to get my license in two months. I like Rap and Metal music. Hallow Sky is my favorite band. I LOVE computer graphics. I love the challange of learning new things to do them. I also like to learn HTML. I have my own web site. You are very welcome to see it. Please excuse the mess though its still under construction!! And also I LOVE to hang out with my friends. And chat online. =)

(Note: she actually has two blog-like websites and her own review site. I have linked her "about me" page to her name above.)

Okay, I thought to myself, she's sixteen. I am a teacher - a person who is supposed to mold young minds and encourage young whippersnappers to express themselves. I am not going to go after her or attack her spelling and Enlish usage any more. I won't mention that I was a contender in Academic English Rally when I was her age... (Oops! That just slipped out!) Did I mention that I am also an English teacher?

But, in defense of my layout, I implore you to check out her web site. Pretty please! Someone with so many animated figurines has no call to cast aspersions.

There, I'm almost done.

Coincidentally, an old friend, who is also an English teacher (on the university level), sent me a link to this very interesting Commentary of the Day at The Irascible Professor.Com: Irreverent Commentary on the State of Education in America Today. The commentary is by Peter Berger, and it is entitled The Great American English Class. I won't include the whole article - read it, though! - but I particularly liked this:

Last spring the National Commission on Writing in America's Schools and Colleges reported that "more than 50 percent of first-year college students are unable to produce papers relatively free of language errors." The same study found that "proper grammar and usage" are the "writing skills college instructors most want from incoming freshmen." Yet according to a survey of high school English teachers conducted by the ACT testing organization, only 69 percent teach grammar and usage. The tally for punctuation posted higher at 83 percent, but that still means that nearly one fifth of all high school English teachers don't teach their students the basic mechanics of writing. These figures don't account for teachers and schools that include but minimize instruction in these areas.

This neglect isn't accidental. The National Council of Teachers of English has consistently opposed the teaching of grammar since the early 1970s, advising that teachers "should not fret over grammar mistakes when evaluating papers." Ken Goodman, the father of whole language, condemned teaching kids how to use punctuation, which he found "virtually impossible to teach anyway," a remarkable confession for a model English teacher. He also rejected teaching spelling on the bizarre and entirely erroneous grounds that kids' "misspellings are mostly confined to words being used for the first time." Many like-minded English brass hats echo Mr. Goodman's views. Less than two centuries after Webster compiled his dictionary, they regard spelling as a "waste of time in the classroom" and a concern for the mechanics of writing as a "drain." After all, argues one consultant, "even accomplished professional writers have an editor."

Memo to consultant: Most of the kids in my seventh grade class aren't going to wind up with editors.

Today, I had my students work earnestly in their grammar exercise books. I also wrote new rules called "Writing for School." I routinely get papers that are scribbled out at (illegible) lightning speed, lacking indentation, capital letters, and punctuation. I also get a lot of graffiti and "specialty signatures" on my papers (meaning Old English - a.k.a. Gang Writing - of their names with suspicious "x"'s inside the letters.). I explained that this was inappropriate for turning in as school work and decreed that any paper that does not abide by the rules will have to be re-copied. We'll see how it goes!

And that would be...revenge of the English teacher!!!! And, yes, revenge is sweet!

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Tiedyefor 2003