Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I haven't posted on the blog in a while and I figured that it was time to update it and give the one person who looks at my blog something to read. So, here I go...

Grammar. What happened to it?  Is it a victim of the texting/IMing world that we live in now? Can it be that simple or is it a scapegoat for all of our grammatical problems?  I realize that I am not perfect; I do make mistakes with my grammar.  But, there is a general "dumbing-down" of students and young adults that cannot form proper sentences, spell common words or compose an email with punctuation. 

I believe that it does have a lot to do with technology.  If we think about texting it can explain some of the bad habits, but not all.  When texting first arrived on the scene, we were only able to push a number button the correct amount to get the letter we desired.  It was extremely time consuming and frustrating for some.  In an effort to make it a less arduous task, short-cuts were developed. "R U..., K", etc.  We had no need for capital letters or punctuation.  We didn't even need to spell correctly because we could always blame it on the keypad.  Then we graduated to QWERTY keyboards and Blackberries and could type away.  Some cell phones even have spell-check or the hilarious (when you get it wrong) auto correct.  Now it is as though people have a new language: LOL, ROTFL, BRB, OMG... the list goes on. 

In the "old days" a person wrote out a letter.  Communication wasn't as easy and you had to put time and effort into writing to a person.  You had to communicate the events of your life, feelings and all sorts of things so that you could feel that you were still in touch with your friend or special loved-one.  Now, there is no virtual distance between people. You can email (on your phone, laptop or tablet), Skype or text. There is no waiting. Or if there is waiting, a new set of communication issues can arise. Is that person mad at you, are they upset, are they in danger, why aren't they answering?  I sent them a text 5 minutes ago and no response. There is a general disbelief when I tell people that I do not have my cell phone with me at all times and that it is quite often in my purse, with the ringer off or the battery is dead.  Total disbelief.  I digress; cell phone etiquette is for another post.

I think that Microsoft has a lot to answer for.  MS Word will not only let you know when you have misspelled a word, but it will often correct it for you automatically and you won't even know that you spelled a word wrong.  It will also fix your capitalization and some grammar issues.  It is as if you don't need to know the rules to play the game.  Teachers like Word.  They like having their assignments typed up and handed to them.  Some even have them emailed and they correct using Word.  What happened to getting a few assignments handwritten so that you can separate the wheat from the chafe? Find out what they really know or don't know.  In my mind, that would be authentic assessment.

I am going to run the risk of sounding like an old lady, but I don't think that kids spend enough time learning grammar.  I remember lessons on it and having to do exercises on how to use a comma, paraphrase and edit a composition.  I don't believe the ELA teachers have time to do that any more. They have new curricula and brand new assessment strategies thrust upon them and they probably assume that students have learned the basics in younger grades.  Some of the work is truly cringe worthy.

I'm sure this is a topic that will be debated and discussed for ages to come, but for now that is what I think.

P.S. I have not proof-read this posting. I'm in a hurry to get to a meeting.  Maybe that's the problem? Time??????


Sunday, August 7, 2011


Gawd, I can't wait for school to start again! Please don't spread that around, but I can't. I want to be useful again and have something to do during the day. You know, you can't appreciate the weekends when you don't work, so I'm at that point. I need to work again, so I can appreciate days off! Two more weeks and then I'll be back to counting the sleeps until I can sleep in on the weekends-lol.

Not that the summer hasn't had its up and downs and drama, but after some bad phone calls, email and unfriending on Facebook, it seems to have calmed down and things are quiet. Just in time for me to go back to work drama- which I don't mind. Drama when I'm not working and when I'm volunteering is NOT what I want. So, let's hope that is over with for now.

Off to watch bad tv and maybe read a book until it is time for me to go to sleep.

Counting the days...that's what I think of summer holidays!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A sad day.

I just found out that a man I went to school with died on Sunday while having some fun on a lake in Saskatchewan. In a small town, we were in the same grade from Kindergarten to grade 12. And his dad was my social studies teacher from grade 7 to 12 and his mother also taught at the school. We were not particularly close, but when someone who is the same age as you dies suddenly, it puts life into perspective.

I feel terrible for his parents and his sister and his friends. Life is very short and for some it is incredibly so.

So hug your loved ones today and remember what's important in life and it isn't what you have or don't have- it is your loved ones and the people that you chose to have in your life.

Sadness and Sympathy; that's what I think today.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yep, it's official...I AM a bitch!

Because, I had a great time at the wedding last night! Reading the last post, I didn't have the greatest expectations for the wedding and I honestly thought I would be home in a couple of hours, but I drank and danced the night away. I had a great time with my friends and co-workers and I drank a lot of red wine! I staggered home with a couple that I used to work with, played with my doggie and then fell into bed. And I don't even have a hangover this morning!!!!! Bonus! I did sleep until almost 11AM, but to be fair, I was going to get up at 9 when I woke up, but it was thunder storming and I just didn't feel like it, so I went back to sleep until my mother called at 10:45.

Today, I'm having a lazy day. I cleaned my whole house really well yesterday and the only think that I might do is a bit of laundry. I will have to take the dog out for a walk, but after that I'm going to watch tv, read a book, work on my knitting-- whatever I want. Good day!!

So, in conclusion, I had a great time unexpectedly. A pleasant surprise indeed!

That's what I now think about weddings!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Am I a bitch?

I really do want to know.

I have been asked by my friend to accompany her and her boyfriend to the wedding of a coworker who is getting married tonight. Here's the rub, I wasn't actually invited. Yes, the bride put up a sign up sheet in the staff room for people that wanted to attend, but my friend also received an invitation; I did not. I thought that I would be on a road trip with my cousin right now and so I didn't sign up. I also have issues with signing up for a wedding. It's like I'm begging to come to the social event of the year and the Bride will look at my application and see if I'm worthy. If you want me to come to your wedding, print off an invitation and give it to me so that I feel like I'm wanted.

I am happy for the Bride and Groom, but I am in such a funk these days, I don't think I'll be much fun. I don't actually enjoy weddings as a rule. I can't remember the last wedding that I went to where I thought, "Boy, that was a fun wedding!" I've had an okay time at a couple of weddings, but I haven't had a blast. It doesn't help that I'm a singleton and I usually go solo. My cousin is getting married at the end of August and I'm excited for that wedding but more because all of my extended family will be there and I have a blast with them. It is also going to be held at a nightclub, so dancing will be much better than at other wedding venues where you either have to be shitfaced or you just sway back and forth because the lights are so bright and you are self-conscious.

Well, I'll go for a few hours tonight and try to have a good time. I think that I've just answered my own question. Yes, I am a bitch. But, I'm not the only one out there- this I know for sure!

That's what I think about weddings. Harumph!

Friday, July 29, 2011

A time for reflection

It is almost August and I am reflecting on a few things. The past few months have been very difficult for me, both personally and professionally.

The school year ended with teachers in Saskatchewan going on strike for three days. This was not only a financial burden, it was also a blow to my professional self-esteem. I found the comments about teachers on the news sites and in the paper to be a big wake-up call for me. I always thought that teachers were well thought of by parents and students- in general. There is always a few rotten apples in the barrel, but the ignorant comments from Joe Public really stung and for the first time I was feeling bad about my chosen career. Not only did I feel attacked by the people of Saskatchewan, but I also felt that my government created a campaign against teachers to break us down morally and emotionally. A fact that was basically confirmed by our bargaining committee. I think this was the most upsetting; a government is supposed to protect and stand up for all of its citizens and here they were- planning and implementing a strategy designed to hurt. I know that I am 30 years old, but I think that my childish innocence about government was shattered. I am still sick to my stomach when I think about it and now we have gone to mediation for a small percentage more than the government offered and I wonder what it was all for? Why did we walk off the job, put ourselves out there for ridicule and to be broken? Was it worth it? I don't know.

Now it's summer and I'm supposed to recharge my batteries except that I have volunteered for a non-profit organization and the drama that has ensued has made my summer more stressful than working. I joined the board to help and a few of us seemed to do nothing but try to "manage" grown women who should know how to behave. Our leader is sick in the hospital and is fighting to recover from a serious illness and this drama was picked up by myself and a few others. I am exhausted and not sure how much longer I can do this for. I now feel like I can't resign because we've lost three pretty big contributors already and I feel as though I would be leaving the organization high and dry. I am also afraid that I will look like a shit for quitting. I don't know where it will end, but I know this, when I go back to school at the end of August, I will be cutting back.

When I get back to school, I will be faced with a multimillion dollar renovation and I am dreading that. We have basically been told that it will be 2-3 years of hell and we need to be prepared. Goody! I am prepared, but when my volunteer work is stressing me out and my work is stressing me out, something will give and I can tell you that my volunteer work doesn't pay my mortgage, so I know what will be cut out of my life. I hope it doesn't come to it, but I am prepared in case it does.

This blog has changed for me. It started out as an assignment for one of my grad classes, then became a sort of professional blog and now I think it will be my personal blog. The title fits. Nobody reads this, so it will be an online diary for myself and I will be able to trace my life through the postings. If you have stumbled across this blog by accident, I hope you will leave a comment and let me know that you were here.

That's what I think...


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Assessment?? Of whom exactly?

As part of my professional venting system, I will continue to blog. I have found that this is a way for me to get my frustrations out even if it just sits in cyberspace taking up room on Blogger's server. It is my zen.

Can I say that I am sick sick sick of talking about assessment. Not so much the ideas of assessment and that we should be doing authentic assessment (what is that really anyway?). But that it is being shoved down our throats by the government and school division. I feel like they are saying that we, as teachers, have been doing a terrible job and we need to be re-taught how is should be. Many of these concepts that they are preaching, are done every day, we just don't sit down and feel the need to name them and make us feel important. We had to sit through an entire day on assessment and guess what? I don't even remember enough about it- apart from that I hated it- to even complain about!! Yes, we've got the free books and yes, we have to call it a name, but please don't treat us like we are stupid. Please don't shove this at us and say, "This is how it should be done." What happened to professional treatment? I have a Bachelor AND a Master of education degree- I understand the concept of assessment vs. evaluation. As high school teachers, assessment and evaluations were the lone weapon that we had to make kids hand-in assignments, behave in class and study for tests. Now we are told that we can't take marks off for lates, can't assign a grade for participation and attitude (even if we have a rubric) or let kids fail a test if they didn't study. No! Now they tell us that it won't be an authentic record of what kids are learning. Well, please give us an alternative.

The other point that I have issue with is the fact that this is another band wagon that everyone has jumped on. I guess that I should stop complaining and wait until this fad peters out. I'm just saying that in the 8 years that I've been teaching, I've seen a few fantastic educational leaders come and go. Does anyone remember the Dufours?? I'm sure as hell not doing and PLC's anymore. Just sayin'...

That's what I think about the "new" assessment.