Friday I took a sick day and paid a visit to the Rug Doctor.  I should say the Rug Doctor paid a visit to my house where C.J. and I spent most of the day working on two floors of carpets.  We have three dogs at the moment, only one of which is consistently housebroken.  So every couple of months we arrange for a visit from the Rug Doctor.

Are the dogs worth it?  Yes, of course they are.

While on a break between rugs I visited Facebook where someone had posted a link to an article I really had to reply to.  I didn’t care about the topic or what the person had to say about it, but right there in big bold face font was “ALOT.”

I immediately replied “‘A lot’ is two words.”  Within minutes my comment had two likes.

I leave that same comment on Facebook and Twitter and student papers so often, I think it should be inscribed on my tombstone.

When you’re posting some outraged rant on Facebook or some other dark corner of the internet, please take the time to run spell check before you publish.

Or face my wrath.

This week I was reminded that 7th grade students cannot pronounce certain words correctly.

  • Arab – Every time we begin the unit on Islam in my history class the room sounds like an Archie Bunker convention.  They all pronounce Arab as “A-rab.”  We have to go over the correct pronunciation again and again or the room sounds like a bunch of racists.
  • writhing – When first encountered is almost always pronounce with a short ‘i’ vowel sound as in ‘writ’.
  • brooch – I guess no one has a grandmother who wears a brooch anymore because this one always gets pronounced with the same ‘oo’ sound found in ‘pooch’.

The joys of reading out loud.  But, honestly, if I don’t teach them how to say these things, who will?

You never know when brooches will come back in style.

Since joining Twitter earlier this year I have noticed that some authors leave very dumb tweets.

One author I follow, whose book was one of my top ten favorite reads for the year a couple of years ago, leaves all kinds of information about his dating life, which is a bit adventurous for a man in his 40’s if you ask me.  Nothing explicit, but he certainly goes to a lot of dance clubs for a serious journalist.  It kind of makes him sound like a college kid.  Do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to tweet about it when you’re a serious journalist.

But that’s not as bad as authors who tweet things that make them look stupid.  One newish science fiction/fantasy author, who wrote a short story that I loved, tweeted something to the effect of “What is ‘literature of ideas’? I hope I never write any.

I almost replied “You’re right; there’s nothing worse than a writer with an idea.” but I thought better of it.  Or maybe I just chickened out.  I really don’t want to stir the pot, unless we’re talking about “a lot” being two words.

Two words people.  Two words.

Also on Facebook this week I found people complaining about free things that aren’t going to be free anymore which kind of bugs me.  At issue was a linky site that was going to start charging for services that had previously been free.  I’d never heard of the site since I haven’t used linkies in a long time.  When I did, I used Mr. Linky which I paid for.  I think it was just ten dollars a year, less than I pay for this website, but I still paid for it.

The person posting (ranting) was upset that she would have to pay to do things she used to do for free and that the site in question had been rude to her when they replied to her email.  I have to say I was on the linky site’s side.  We’ve all grown too accustomed to free stuff online.  People have to make a living and frankly, you get what you pay for.  Complaining about the service you get when something is free….honestly? Were you planning on leaving a tip?

No rant would be complete without something about work, in my case school.  My district is in the process of eliminating higher level courses for some reason I do not understand. They did not ask me for my opinion, nor did they ask any teacher near as I can tell.  I defended my program as best I could, but some administrator at the district level read a study and there is no arguing with a district administrator who has read a study.

They have already ended higher level math, English and history at the middle school level and have now set their sights on the high school, which I predicted two years ago thank you very much.

I learned via a colleague who was forced to attend a recent district meeting that they plan to phase out Honors English starting next year or the year after.  Instead of having a higher level program for students who qualify, all students will take the same English class while some will do a few extra assignments to earn an ‘H’ for honors on their transcript.

When I told this to C.J., he said principals at local private schools must all be popping champagne ’cause their enrollment just went up.

We’ll see.

But whatever English class they take, high or low, if they only learn one thing, I’ll be happy as long as that one thing is that ‘a lot’ is two words!

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17 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Random Ranting

  1. Brooches are still very popular round these parts 🙂 You’re right about spellchecking though, I hate it when mistakes slip through on my posts. Lots of people seem to blame predictive text but all you have to do is read before you press publish or send. (Have now read this three times to ensure I don’t get hoist with my own petard!)

  2. Ah, James, we all make grammar/typo mistakes. When it comes to proofing what we write, our eyes may not see them, but our minds read them. A case in point, in the first paragraph of your blog, there are two typos. One is missing the word ‘I’ and the other, the word consistently is misspelled. Now we both know these two typos are harmless. A lot and alot are errors of ignorance. However, don’t they come to the same point? We would like to read and write what we communicate as cleanly as possible, but we can’t all be perfect all the time.

  3. I love the line, “there is no arguing with a district administrator who has read a study.” Too true. I wish they’d read more than one, though, and I wish there was a popular one that concluded “There are NO quick fixes in education.”

    1. And just what is the problem you’re trying to fix? So often administrations do something just so they can point to the things they did. The truth is, I had an excellent program, my school did an excellent job, before this administration came along. Now much of the excellent things we did are gone and we’re implementing something completely new. Thank you very much, Common Core. Hope this particular pendulum swings works out the way you say it will.

  4. As a fellow educator, it always amazes me when administrative personnel make decisions about education without consulting educators. Actually, I’m often amazed that said administrative personnel do not have education backgrounds (and I do not count teaching for a few years before moving on to “bigger and better” things or a simple degree to be education backgrounds).

  5. Thanks a lot for the comments on some of your least favorite student errors. I shall think of you this morning as I get dressed and pin on my brooch (I wear one most days, but of course I am great-grandmother material.) My tombstone will read either “A house is not a home (until somebody makes it one.) Or “You don’t eat high tea in the afternoon.”

    Thanks for your blog. It has become one of my favorites . . .

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