I wrote a few quick posts last month giving some tips that I have learned over the years. Having four kids in school (grades-2, 7, 10, and 12) we have dealt with a lot of teachers over a lot of years. And in those years, I have heard the same requests from teachers, but as a parent I have one for…
Okay. Thanks for the feedback.
How should I say this?
GIVE YOUR KIDS MORE FRIGGIN’ CREDIT.
Shakespeare wrote his plays for the illiterate masses that stood in front of the stage. If they can get it, your 8th grader can get it.
Chaucer wrote bawdy stories for entertainment and moral value. As long as it’s not Middle English, one is not asking much for a 10th or 12th grader to follow along with a story about a guy getting a hot poker in the rear end.
And here’s the other thing: I AM NOT A READING TEACHER. I did not go to college to teach kids how to read. I’m a literature and writing teacher. I don’t know how to make a kid read at a certain level. What I do know is there is not a discernible difference 10th and 12th grade reading level. If you look at the Indiana Approved Reading List, you will notice something: It’s not by grade level. All the titles are merely approved for “high school.”
I can make my freshmen get through the Odyssey just as I can make my twelfth graders to do it. Don’t tell me what I can’t get a child to read.
Also, did you ever stop to think that maybe making a child to read above grade level and CONQUER it in some way may actually—GASP—help him?
And here is where I point out a flaw in your argument of grade levels. What if freshman student who reads at a 6th grade level writes a really good paper? (I have those kind of kids sometimes.) I’m going to give that kid an A. Don’t tell me not to. It’s likely the best work that kid has ever done.
But if my at-level freshman writes a paper of THAT sixth-grade level paper, I’m going to give that kid a C.
And as for college and work force? One, there are no grades in the works force. Two, what makes you think every single kid is going to college?
I don’t know what type of magic, multi-foot-noted text your kids have, but I can tell you my students are reading the entire Fitzgerald Odyssey without a single footnote. Nor will Oedipus Rex, or Othello, or Inferno, or the Bible. If they want to know what a word means, they LOOK IT UP. Because knowing WHERE TO FIND AN ANSWER is just as important as “gleaning.”
(Also, to add, how can a child glean the meaning of one word if he’s below grade level? The other words in the paragraph may be above level too. TO THE DICTIONARY!)
And there is nothing wrong with writing “Y R U?” if a kid is privately message his friends. WHO CARES? Also, IT’S NOT MY JOB TO POLICE YOUR CHILD’S CASUAL LANGUAGE. He is being efficient with his time. The key is knowing when to code-switch, and students who can easily code-switch between their informal language they share with friends to the formal language expected in schools is demonstrating a complex cognitive ability.
How dare you belittle my profession to think I—or any teacher—doesn’t spend time to teach a “coherent paragraph.” Really? REALLY. It’s this kind of opinion of teaching that gives me the biggest case of the angries. What makes you think that we’re all flailing our hands over standardized tests ignoring “the basics”?
And here’s my last point: You and Roy learned “the basics”. Awesome. But did you ever stop to think that the basics for you are not the same as basics for your children?