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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Standards are slipping

Checking things out
Last night was report checking night at Nuova Lazio High.  This is where a select few turn up and check that the comments produced by our dedicated gang of educators is up to the high standards expected of our prestigious academy.  This proof reading tradition originated in the dim past, after a serious batch of errors was released into the community, and the then Principal insisted that all further teacher generated comments be double-checked before printing and posting.

A batch of errors being released
In most cases, the mistakes are minor, and are mostly stylistic in nature.  Things like inconsistent use of capitals (Term 2, term two, Term Two, term Two etc.) However, in some cases, it's basic grammar, punctuation and syntax.

When I was a High School student, I can remember days and weeks of constant spelling practice, verb inflection exercises, sentence analysis and synthesis (parsing).  We might not have had great research abilities, but by God, we could create a sentence which was error free and made sense.  We learned to manipulate language, to construct accurate and even elegant prose.  Some of our present day teachers at NLH have not been through a similar process.

Basic spelling errors, incorrect tense usage, missing commas, inconsistent voice and use of person.  It went on and on.  Some of course were OK.  Richard [of RBB]'s efforts were ready ahead of time, and models of succinct and witty enthusiasms.  Railway Guy as always, was a foundation stone of grammatical knowledge and usage.

But some of the rest!! I shudder at what these lovely and hard working people are teaching our kids.

I will mention on closing one other impediment to our struggle for perfection.  I refer of course to those deaf and dumb so-called professionals who couldn't even be bothered to print out their report comments for checking.  I'm not talking about teachers away on trips or courses, I'm pointing the finger at the lack of forward planning by a few of our colleagues, who, hours after the deadline are still printing out their reports.  Plus about 8 who just didn't print them out for us.  Or I suspect have their work checked by a colleague.

It gets depressing.

It was also depressing for MoE [The teacher, not the Ministry] who got stuck with being an acting temporary Deputy Principal when the rest of the SLT had swanned off to some meeting off-site (probably a pub), and who was trying to control the usual mob of suspects outside my office.  He always approaches these incidents in a calm and controlled way, and I admire him for his professionalism.  I would have loved to have strangled one of the hyperactive, abusive, foul-mouthed little buggers pour encourager les autres.

It's not too late.
I have a little list
They never will be missed.  Not by the teaching community at least.

I wonder how deep the creek is outside my classroom? 
I wonder if an accident could be arranged?
I wonder if I could get away with it?
Will they find out?


  1. You have a creek outside your office? Perhaps what you need is a pack of 'grow your own' crocs..........

    I'm all for education being as green as possible even to the extent of recycling a pupil or even, from what you say, a teacher or two......

  2. Why is he called Railway Guy?
    By the way, I found one little error in this post.
    'inconsistent voice and use of person' doesn't really make sense.
    Don't worry, I'm not going to tell Ringo.

  3. "Don't worry, I'm not going to tell Ringo."

    Are you sure its a creek hanging about outside your office and not a creep?

  4. I still think that one of Richard's report comments in 2009 is the best I've ever read- something along the lines of: "despite not being able to gain the services of a decent hairdresser, Zack had nonetheless progressed well in music..."

  5. Sorry Alistair, we don't have any Crocs or Alligators down here in "clean, green Aoteroa".

    All I've seen floating by is the occasional condom and shopping cart. I like your idea of recycling pupils. Have you ever thought of going into teaching? I think you'd be a natural.

    Ricahrd [of RBB]; I call him Railway Guy, because:
    A) He used to work for British Rail on his big OE.
    B) He's the only guy I know who's actually got a train simulator program on his computer.

    The Curmudgeon; Yes, I'm sure. It's long and narrow, almost hidden and covered in green slime. Wait. You might be correct, it could be the creep.

    Nicloa; Did Richard[of RBB] actually get away with writing that? Absolute magic. I've tried a couple of times to get something past the proof-readers, but they always get censored.

  6. British Rail? It was London Transport (Railway Operating Division) actually.

    And I remember a previous Royal Wedding circus, years ago when Blondie and Big Ears were married. A bunch of us train drivers (staunch anti-Royalists all) were lucky enough to be rostered off, so we got in a mate's car and drove up the Thames Valley to sample the local pubs. All the Hooray Henries and other inbred idiots who normally frequent the area were at the Occasion, so we had a good time. Eventually we drove unsteadily back to Town, having had a great day. secure in the knowledge that every copper in the realm was guarding the Wedding, and happy that we didn't have to slave for long overtime hours taking the idiot fawning masses back home.

    - (so-called) Railway Guy

  7. Sorry for the inaccuracy, O learned one. I'm just glad I'm not in the UK just now. Apart from the cold, non-stop rendition of Silent Night in every store and elevator and saturation with images of the blessed Royal Couple.


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