The wise man is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things both new and old.

Category: Pyropedagogy

A message to parents from an officer of the Grammar Police.

My daughter is smart. She is almost sixteen months old, but she is already figuring things out. In our sitting room, we (Sarah and I) put the majority of our daughter’s toys. Next to the toys are two rocking chairs where Sarah and I sit and read while Kizzy plays. Today, Sarah sent me a picture of Kizzy sitting in her chair, and she was holding a book in the same way as Mommy and Daddy. Kizzy can’t read, but she is learning some essential actions.

Someone I know recently acknowledged that many of his posts to Facebook are not grammatically correct because he uses talk-to-text; he then went on an admittedly humorous rant about destroying punctuation marks to offend we Grammar Police. But after the laughter wore off, all I was left with was how absolutely horrible of a stance that is as a parent to have.

And here’s why…

Our children learn first by observation. That is great if an individual wants to intentionally break grammar rules (or accidentally from haste-I’m guilty of this one), but our children look to us as an example. A young person looking at the adult he admires writing with atrocious grammar and mechanics does not think, “My role model is such a rebel.” What he thinks is, “My role model has clearly survived life not knowing to capitalize I, or how to use a comma correctly. Why should I learn?” The answer is: because your livelihood could depend on it.

Not every promotion requires good writing skills. But no promotion is determined by how well a person can write poorly. In an employer roundtable held at the school where I teach, a bank manager, hospital HR director, and factory foreman, all listed qualities they expect in all their employees. Good written communication skills was on that list.

Parents who do not take the time to model important life skills for their child, like writing for example, do actually hinder their potential for career success.

So for the sake of Pete, use a stinkin’ apostrophe.

#DoOver My First Year of Teaching Part 7; or, Turning Students Into Zombies Is NOT a Bad Thing

You’ve seen it.

Dawn of the Dead. Zombieland. The Walking Dead.

Or some other horror media involving the zombie- a creature created by being bitten by another zombie (or dying because you are already infected, TWD). And in education, students often are described as zombies, BECAUSE OF EDUCATION. As if teachers are nothing more than burned out, jaded, cynical virus carriers intent on bringing down as many others with them as they can.

I am here to propose another application of the term “zombie” to students.

In George Romero’s Land of the Dead, we are faced with a fascinating twist on the typical zombie film in that the zombies have the capacity to learn and problem solve. As the zombie hordes work together, though their movements are rocky and sporadic, they slowly but surely figure out how to learn and work together as they try to find their own place in the world.

Just like students.

Sure, students cluster together. Yes, they oftentimes are not working at the level we would hope they would work at. But by pushing them, allowing them to feed on a (teacher) brain from time to time as needed, they start to figure things out and solve their own problems.

Looking back on my first year of teaching, I cringed at the idea of terms like “zombie” being applied to my students because I couldn’t look past the surface level of the metaphor. I know differently now.