I am not laughing.

I was just reading this post about Darwin (apparently I missed this hot topic while I was studying the tree of life and plant anatomy) when I saw the disclaimer about "not making fun of the students" when quoting their typos and grammatical errors. And I thought to myself that perhaps I am guilty of that- of making fun of my students. But then I thought, "Nah."

You know why not? Because I don't point out these issues to make fun and laugh; I point them out because they are irritating and symbolic of a greater problem: these kids don't know how to communicate. In an era when it is so easy to stay in touch, why is it so difficult to communicate?

I'll tell you why. The problem is that because it is so easy, they don't take the time to think about what they are saying. How often do I get the hasty email "Hey professor, I don't understand the homework. Thanks." Or the email that is written in abbreviations and syntax that I just don't understand. I hate those. I hate those stupid abbreviations. If I need a decoder ring then I am not going to read it. Hey, I may not always use correct grammar and syntax, but I do know how to use spell check, and I do know how to get the point across. When it is so easy to send an email to ask "Hey Prof, what is the assignment this week?", why bother going to blackboard and looking at the syllabus? I'll tell you why: because it is a waste of my time to have to reply to those emails. So, my standard reply is "Go to blackboard and look on the syllabus". Eventually, they learn to do just that. And for the former question, my reply is "If you ask a specific question I can try to help you, otherwise come see me after class." Sometimes I never hear from them again, which means they were just being lazy and looking for me to hold their hand and walk them through the assignment; and sometimes, they do come to me, and then I can help them one on one- the time honored and preferred way to do it.

So what was the point of this? The point of this whole rant is just to say that I am not making fun… because it is not in the least bit funny.


Lisa said...

What's interesting is that I'm in a boy writers book group at school and one chapter of the book we are reading suggests that we support the use of IM language and text language. Well. We had quite the lively debate around the table about that idea....most of the classroom teachers felt that wasn't "real" writing--it has a place, it's fun, but it's not writing within a genre or learning proper editing and spelling skills...while the other people around the table (the librarian, school psychologist) were all in favor of supporting it.
That aside, grammar has also been a huge issue in my district for the last several years. Kids can't spell and they can't write properly--largely because (I think) we aren't teaching it anymore. I think we should be frankly because every year I get kids who can't spell does. DOES! It's ridiculous.