2012 Oct 7

written by Sherri Joubert

I heard the following on Best of the Left podcast a couple of weeks ago, show number 644, and I absolutely must share it with you.

My mom was a career teacher before she retired. She taught business English and accounting, And my sister and I learned to speak properly as we learned to talk. Can you imagine baby-talk in correct English? We lived it.

When we took grammar and usage in school we had a horrible time because we knew how to do it all correctly without knowing a damn thing about what you call each part of speech.

I didn’t know the difference between an adjective and an adverb until college, when a style manual became one of my always-at-hand reference books. I also became a great fan of Grammar Rock. Being musically inclined, it was much easier to learn using songs.

We went to college when you still hand-wrote your research papers and typed them using a typewriter. Since Mom could type so much faster than we could, sometimes she would type our papers when we came home for a weekend. We received further editing, grammar, usage, and punctuation coaching; and we were finally thankful for it.

We went to public school and public college. I had many teachers as passionate as Taylor Mali, who inspired me to reach new heights and embrace mistakes as lessons. I’m saddened that so many kids today may never have the same experience.

It’s not because teachers are incompetent. It’s because all the testing, and teachers and schools being graded on students’ test scores that require teachers to tow the line and teach the test, or risk their jobs.

To hell with learning and thinking, learn this material and pass the test so we all won’t be fired and our school won’t be taken over by some state agency.

It’s time to throw out the standardized tests, school report cards, and student score-based teacher evaluations and let kids learn from teachers who are free to teach them.

Teachers like Taylor Mali show kids they can make their dreams come true. Teachers make a goddamn difference, if they’re allowed to.

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If you don’t listen to Best of the Left, I highly recommend you try it out for at least a few episodes.

The show is available online at the above website, and can be downloaded through iTunes, Stitcher, or as a plain mp3 file that will play in any audio player.

If you don’t have a portable device and still want to listen on the go, shows are timed so each one will fit on a single audio CD. Burn a copy for your car CD player, and then pass the CD’s on to others when you’re finished listening to them.

As always, I invite you to leave a comment and continue the conversation.

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